Giorgio Morandi

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Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi (born July 20, 1890 in Bologna , † June 18, 1964 ) was an Italian painter and graphic artist who achieved worldwide recognition, especially for his still lifes .


Giorgio Morandi came from a middle-class family in Bologna. He was the oldest of five children of a merchant. From 1906 he worked as an employee in his office. In 1902 his brother Giuseppe died, in 1909 his father Andrea died as well. The paternal inheritance enabled the art-loving son to study at the Accademia di belle arti in his hometown from 1908 to 1913 . Morandi read whatever information he could get on modern art, especially that in France. He was most interested in Paul Cézanne (for him the basis of painting was drawing, but the prerequisite for all work was subordination to the object). Other artistic influences that shaped him ranged from Rousseau to the works of Picasso . He was also particularly interested in Ardengo Soffici's art theoretical articles , which appeared in the magazine La Voce .

From 1914 to 1930 he worked intermittently as a drawing teacher at adult education centers in Bologna. In 1914 he presented his own work for the first time in a group exhibition. After a two-year commitment, he was released from military service in 1917 due to illness. From 1913 he often spent the summer months in the village of Grizzana (today Grizzana Morandi ), where he later lived mostly.

1918/1919 he dealt with Futurism and Pittura metafisica . Unmarried, he lived with his sisters until his death in Via Fondazza (Bologna), where his living room was also his studio. There he developed still lifes from combinations of vessels of an intensity that has not been there since Chardin . Concentrating on this topic earned him the nickname “bottle painter”. Since he was diagnosed with lung cancer - he was a heavy smoker - he spent his summers in the nearby Grizzana, where he mainly painted landscapes in which - as in his still lifes - he strived for extreme reductions committed to Cubism .

Thanks to his art in the craft of etching and due to his growing artistic reputation, which was reflected in numerous participation in exhibitions and fairs, he was appointed professor of etching at the "Accademia di belle arti" in Bologna in 1930.

He rarely traveled abroad, for example to the exhibition of his works in Winterthur in 1956. He made a trip to Lugano to see the Thyssen Collection and visited the Cézanne exhibition in 1956 at the Kunsthaus Zürich . His lifestyle was felt by many to be monastic and his painting style was accordingly ascetic. Many of his pictures achieve a strong sensuality with minimal effort.

When Morandi died of lung cancer on June 18, 1964 in his studio in Via Fondazza in Bologna , he was world famous; his pictures hang in important museums and private collections.


With Chardin and Cézanne, Giorgio Morandi is one of the most important still life painters. In doing so, he experimented with flatness and spatiality until the end. B. in the painterly consideration of shadows. Much is said that he dealt with "things", with "objects" and gave them dignity and mystery. But he did not paint just any things, but in the Heideggerian sense witness , i.e. devices made by people for everyday use such as bowls, vessels, bottles, jugs, cups, vases, whose proportions reflect suitability for the human hand on the one hand and on the other the relation to human needs, e.g. B. Drinking or having flowers in the home. It is characteristic that Morandi's attempts with still lifes of natural things, e.g. B. mussels, remained marginal. “It happens that Morandi's still lifes appear melancholy and romantic, tender and indulgent in conception and execution; sometimes powerful, the majority are restrained in color and chiaroscuro. And what then changes is the reciprocal, almost 'interpersonal' relationship between the objects. "(Vitale Bloch, 1954)




  • Lamberto Vitali: Giorgio Morandi - Opera Grafica. Einaudi, Turin 1957.
  • Wieland Schmied (editor and author of the introduction): Giorgio Morandi. Kestner Society, Hanover 1964, catalog for the exhibition 2/1964.
  • Werner Haftmann (Ed.): Giorgio Morandi, paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings. Catalog for the exhibitions in the Kunsthalle Tübingen and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. DuMont, Cologne 1989, ISBN 3-7701-2481-2 .
  • Ernst-Gerhard Güse and Franz Armin Morat (eds.): Giorgio Morandi, paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings. Prestel, Munich / London / New York 1999, ISBN 3-7913-2054-8 .
  • Sabine Fehlemann (Ed.) Giorgio Morandi. Natura Morta 1914-1964. Von der Heydt-Museum 2004, ISBN 3-89202-056-6 .
  • Philippe Jaccottet : The pilgrim and his bowl. Giorgio Morandi. Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich / Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-446-20579-9 .
  • Veronica Ceruti, Cristina Francucci, Silvia Spadoni: Giorgio Morandi - Quello delle bottiglie? MAMBo / Corraini Edizioni, Bologna / Mantova 2012, ISBN 978-88-96296-08-0 .
  • Johann-Karl Schmidt : Giorgio Morandi - The death of light. City Gallery Villingen-Schwenningen 2018, ISBN 978-3-939423-71-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Morandi, Giorgio . (No longer available online.) Archivio Biblioteca Quadriennale (ArBiQ), archived from the original on April 13, 2013 ; Retrieved February 3, 2013 (Italian).