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Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi

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Giorgio Morandi (July 20, 1890 – June 18, 1964) was an Italian painter and printmaker who specialized in still life. His paintings are noted for their tonal subtlety in depicting apparently simple subjects, which were limited mainly to vases, bottles, bowls, flowers and landscapes.

Giorgio Morandi was born in Bologna to Andrea Morandi and Maria Maccaferri. He lived first on Via Lame where his brother Giuseppe (who died in 1903) and his sister Anna were born. The family then moved to via Avesella where his two other sisters were born, Dina in 1900 and Maria Teresa in 1906. From 1907 to 1913 he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna [Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna]. After the death of his father in 1909, the family moved to via Fondazza and Morandi became the head of the family.

At the Accademia, which based its traditions on 14th-century painting, Morandi taught himself to etch by studying books on Rembrandt. He was excellent at his studies, although his professors disapproved of the changes in his style during his final two years at the Accademia. Morandi, even though he lived his whole life in Bologna, was influenced by the works of Cézanne, Derain, and Picasso. In 1910 he visited Florence, where the works of artists such as Giotto, Masaccio, Piero Della Francesca, and Paolo Uccello made a profound impression on him. He had a brief digression into a Futurist style in 1914. In that same year, Morandi was appointed instructor of drawing for elementary schools in Bologna—a post he held until 1929.

In 1915, he joined the army but suffered a breakdown and was indefinitely discharged. During the war, Morandi's still lifes became more reduced in their compositional elements and purer in form, revealing his admiration for both Cézanne and the Douanier Rousseau.

The Metaphysical painting (Pittura Metafisica) phase in Morandi's work lasted from 1918 to 1922. This was to be his last major stylistic shift; thereafter, he focused increasingly on subtle gradations of hue, tone, and objects arranged in a unifying atmospheric haze, establishing the direction his art was to take for the rest of his life. Morandi showed in the Novecento Italiano exhibitions of 1926 and 1929, but was more specifically associated with the regional Strapaese group by the end of the decade, a fascist-influenced group emphasizing local cultural traditions. He was sympathetic to the Fascist party in the 1920s, although his friendships with anti-Fascist figures led authorities to arrest him briefly in 1943. From 1928 Morandi participated in some of the Venice Biennale exhibitions, in the Quadriennale in Rome and also exhibited in different Italian and foreign cities.

In 1929 Giorgio Morandi illustrated the work Il sole a picco by Vincenzo Cardarelli, winner of the Premio Bagutta. From 1930 to 1956, Morandi was a professor of etching at Accademia di Belle Arti. The 1948 Venice Biennale awarded him first prize for painting. He visited Paris for the first time in 1956, and in 1957 he won the grand prize in São Paulo's Biennial.

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Giorgio Morandi Artworks
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