"I believe that nothing can be more abstract, more unreal, than what we actually see. We know that... the objective world... never really exists as we see and understand it... has no intrinsic meaning of its own, such as the meanings that we attach to it." - Giorgio Morandi
Morandi is one of the most recognizable and enigmatic artists of the 20th century. He won international recognition during his lifetime while maintaining a secluded life with his three sisters in Bologna.
As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, he took a particular interest in French Impressionists and painters such as Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, Henri Rousseau and Pierre-Auguste Renoir and early Italian artists such as Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, and Piero della Francesca. Although he rarely traveled, Morandi was well aware of contemporary avant-garde trends such as futurism and pittura metafisica. Drawing on these influences, in 1920 Morandi began developing his individual style, which he would continue to refine throughout his career.
Morandi worked obsessively on two key themes: the landscapes of his environs (the Apennines around Bologna and the Cortile di Via Fondazza) and still lives of vases, shells, and flowers. In these, he painted the same objects again and again in similar settings, but with minimal variations in composition, viewpoint, and color. He was also a master of the use of different techniques: a subject painted in oil on canvas creates a different atmosphere when it is depicted in a drawing, an engraving, or a watercolor. For him, each technique was of equal value and he made full use of them all to experiment with.
Morandi's artistic development can be seen as one of consistent development, without major changes of style. His whole oeuvre is a constant search for the essence and purity of forms: his later works come close to abstraction.