Giorgio Morandi was a renowned and prolific Italian painter and printmaker, who ranks among the most influential and highly admired artists of the 20th century. His paintings, mostly his still lives, were a subject of great fascination and engaged viewers in to great contemplation with subtle and consistent sensibility. His metaphysical paintings from the 1960s mark some of the most notable examples of modern Abstract art, and his lifelong exploration and passionate intensity to investigate the depths of the Cubist style made him a truly quintessential artist whose work has inspired countless artists.
Giorgio Morandi was on July 20, 1890 in Bologna, Italy. In 1907, he began attending the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna, and during this time he became influenced by the art of the notable French Post-Impressionist painter, Paul Cezanne. Cezanne’s work had a deep and profound influence on Giorgio’s aesthetic sense and led to his affiliation with the Futurists. Giorgio adopted Cezanne’s accentuation of flat areas and forms of color, and began perfecting to develop his own unique style that gave a refined yet arrestingly delicate touch to his subtle and simple landscapes and still-life compositions.
Giorgio’s art was a gentle, simple and elegant blend of lyrical colors that were designed with disarming subtlety and intense delicacy to be subdued into soft and occasionally highlight color compositions. His paintings are marked for their delightful and engaging patterns of drab greens, umber browns and clay-toned whites with occasional hints of terra-cotta. With his paintings, Giorgio, like most Metaphysical painters, created a dreamlike illusion of excitement, mystery and contemplation that drew in the viewers with his disarming simplicity.
In 1914, Giorgio showcased his work in his first exhibition that took place in Bologna. The exhibition was an instant commercial and critical success, and his work garnered immense praise and acclaim. He became one of the influential and most admired artists of the Futurist Style, and he participated in the First Free Futurist Exhibition that took place at the Galleria Sprovieri, Rome. The same year, Giorgio received his first academic position, he began working as a drawing teacher in Bologna.
In 1918, Giorgio began to exhibit an inclination for Metaphysical painting, and he began his association with the Metaphysical School by adopting the styles of influential Metaphysical painters such as Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra.
In 1920, Morandi’s work began to exhibit an overwhelming inclination towards still lives, however, he would indulge in a few landscapes every now and then. Also, his paintings began to show his great fondness for soft and gentle colours such as the gray blue, rose, earthen yellow and ochre. His paintings from this period largely include still lives of some plain cups, bowls, jars and bottles which were always arranged differently to create a unique effect each time. In 1922, Giorgio began his affiliation with the group ‘Valori Plastici’.
In 1930, Giorgio was offered the position of an art instructor at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts, in Bologna. He taught graphic art at the Academy till 1956. In 1955, Giorgio showcased eleven of his influential and widely applauded works at his own booth, at the First Documenta, that took place in Kassel. In 1957, he received the Grand Prize for Etchings, at the 4th Biennale that was held in Sao Paulo.
Despite his great success and prolific reputation, Giorgio preferred the simple and sweet life of his small and secluded town of Bologna. And this is where he passed away on June 18, 1964, in the comfort of his small and much loved house in Bologna.