An art connoisseur, an art enthusiast, an art critique might not just be that immediately captured by a Giorgio Morandi creation. The first impact you get from his work is that it seems drab, dull and dreary. He generally uses subdued hues. His colours are simple: plain white or clear glaze; cobalt blue; muted iron brown, ochre, pastels. He executes in basic lines. He uses very ordinary objects that are as they are as subjects without infusing any drama. He is repetitive and seemingly limited in his choice of objects.
He seemingly is in continuous experimentation. He arranged his objects in random composition: bearing a seemingly group scene yet there is apparent individuality amongst the objects. And his work revolved only around three subjects: landscapes of hilly northern Italy from windowless houses; his Bologna courtyard and the knick-knacks of housewares from vases, cups saucers, bowls, plates, boxes. But, there is an invitation in Morandi’s work that lures you to go deeper. There is actually beauty amidst the familiarity of his objects.
A higher plane of understanding will see that Morandi is illustrating a different orchestration of his colors and hues. “……. Morandi tended to emphasize the shapes and profiles of his objects in his pictures, distinguishing them by shifts in color, but unifying them with an even-handed, brushy application of paint…Yet it is clear from the objects that he hoarded in his studio that he often selected his subject matter as much for tone and texture as for form. The vases are opaque opaline glass or ceramic, dulled by age and dust. Matteness, dullness, and neutrality obviously counted a good deal for Morandi.
Boxes and bottles, for example, were routinely stripped of labels or had identifying must have helped to homogenize disparate materials and reduce them to essential forms. In addition, many objects were brushed with flat white or grayish paint, to destroy reflections and anything accidental, as though the painter were striving to distance himself from the particulars of his circumscribed subjects in order to render them as abstract geometric archetypes. ” (Wilkin, 1998) Indeed, Morandi and his fine and formal sensible technique established intimacy in his paintings.
His landscapes and basic, simple still life showed delicate tones; subtle designs; dreamy, mystical character; gentle colors; contemplative mood; and establishes a quiet sentimental relationship between the painting and the viewer. His work creates a sense of belongingness because Morandi used scenes and objects that are in anyone’s daily life. They are scenes and objects that you touch and see. Yet, scenes and objects that might have been taken for granted – especially objects that might have been discarded or long forgotten because there is no more use for them.
And so Morandi presents a recreated profound, diverse, alternative interpretation from the familiarity and ordinariness of such scenes and objects. “In Morandi’s closely linked “serial still lifes”, apparently identical groupings of familiar objects, altered by the addition or subtraction of a single element, the presence (or absence) of one more bottle, one less box, as casually placed as an afterthought, can serve not only to completely shift the dynamic weight and the spatial logic of a given composition, but to change its color harmonies, and even the entire proportion of the picture.
” (Wilkin, 1998) Morandi and one of his “Still Life” Painting: Still Life (The Blue Vase) Oil on canvas 1920 Most of the still life objects that Morandi used in his paintings are more neatly and orderly arranged: stacked up in line, assembled in straight positions. They generally show “quietness and serenity” This oil on canvas still life he did in 1920 is by far the one that is “intriguingly playful” and “celebrating” in perspective. Morandi deciding to include a croissant bread amongst the line up of his object may be a portrayal of hunger, of desire.
He further portrayed that the wine canister and the wine glass are contained with wine. To portray a thirst to be quenched? Most of Morandi’s work portrayed objects that are seemingly “empty” and comparatively closer in their positions. They seem to be “expressing”, yes – but this 1920, as observed, seems to be more than expressing, it is celebrating. It is because there is a bit of distance, of space between the objects. It is interesting to note that Morandi decided to “tip” the bowl. All the other objects in this creation of Morandi in 1920 are “upright”, properly placed.
Furthermore, the intrigue lies on why the tipped bowl is directly facing the singularly, separated blue vase? All the other objects are related in the earth tones of colour: brown, beige, off white – even the background colour. But the vase was made distinctive in blue. Furthermore, the wine canister, the wine glass, the bowl are of matt, plain finish. The vase was articulated with pattern and designs of gold. Could the blue vase be a “person of desire, of admiration” to the eyes of Morandi? Could “he” be the “tipped bowl”: giving courtesy, curtsy, adulation to the blue vase?
Instinctively, the subtle “invitation” of the painting through the positioning, colours, lines and portrayal of the objects exemplify the uniqueness of the greatness of Giorgio Morandi. The Life of Giorgio Morandi: Born in Bologna, Italy on 20 July 1890, Girgio Morandi and his family led a simple and quiet life. His family shifted from Bologna to Fondezza after the death of his father. In an old dusty house, he grew up surrounded by overly used items that inspired him to be the object of his work. He studied in Academia di Belle Arti in Bologna from 1907 to 1913. Afterwards, Morandi went and traveled all over Italy to study Renaissance art.
His inspirations and influences were Paul Cezanne, Douanier Rousseau, Carlo Carra, Girogio de Chirico, Piero dela Francesca. From 1914 to 1929, Morandi became a drawing instructor in the elementary schools in Bologna. He started from his technique of metaphysical painting; then he shifted to landspace, self-portraits; abstract canvass – until he found his niche in still life painting. In 1930 until 1956, Giorgio Morandi taught Etchng in the Accademia di Belle Arti. As one of the most influential, impressive and impeccable artists of the 20th century, Morandi won the first prize in the Venice Biennale in 1956.
Succeedingly in 1957, he won the Grand Prize at the Sao Paulo Biennale. Federico Fellini, producer of the 1960 film La Dolce Vita, featured and acclaimed the work of Morandi as the symbol and true representative of cultural sophistication. On his retirement, he concentrated painting in his studio in Grizzana, continually improving on his chosen medium. Girgio Morandi died in Bologna on June 18, 1964. (Museo Murandi.
Wilkin, K. Giorgio Morandi (Twentieh-Century Masters Series). 15 Mar 1998 Rizzoli International Publications “Museo Murandi” http://ww. museumorandi. it/english/sec_pag. htm