Studio visit with a master,
b. Bologna 1890-1964
For Tom Sgouros, RISD
Giorgio Morandi was born in Bologna in 1890. At the age of sixteen, he went to work in his father's commercial office, and in 1907 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna. He was influenced by the Italian masters Giotto, Paolo Uccello, Masaccio and Piero della Francesca, but also by Vermeer, Chardin, Corot and especially Cézanne. Throughout his career, Morandi produced almost exclusively still lives and landscapes. In 1914, he briefly digressed into a Futurist style and also exhibited at the second Rome Secession. In that same year, Morandi was appointed instructor of drawing for elementary schools in Bologna—a post he held until 1929.
During the war, Morandi's still lives became more reduced in their compositional elements and purer in form, revealing his admiration for both Cézanne and the Douanier Rousseau. Morandi knew de Chirico and Carra work through reproductions in the journal La Raccolta, discovering metaphysical painting. In 1918, Morandi became affiliated with the journal Valori Plastici and his work was included in the group's exhibition which traveled throughout Germany in 1921. During this period Morandi painted a series of enigmatic still lives with starkly-modeled objects immobilized in an anti-naturalistic space and light.
By the early twenties Morandi's art had abandoned any reference to Metaphysical painting, and focused increasingly on subtle gradations of hue, tone, and objects arranged in a unifying atmospheric haze. He showed in the I mostra del Novecento italiano exhibitions of 1926, and the following year he exhibited at the Seconda esposizione dell'incisione moderna in Florence. Morandi was devoted to the medium of etching, and increasingly so from the late twenties. From 1930 to 1956, he was professor of printmaking at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna. In the post-war years Morandi was additionally perceived as one of the few artists to have escaped the taint of Fascism, and to have evolved a style of pure pictorial values congenial to modernist abstraction. Morandi died in Bologna in 1964.
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