Giorgio Morandi 1890 – 1964
Italian painter and etcher of still lives and landscapes. He admired the works of Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Giotto, Piero della Francesca and Uccello. He was born, studied and lived in Bologna where he taught drawing at a school. In 1918-19 his style was related to metaphysical painting creating ambiguous distortions of perspective. (Tate, s.d)
Morandi’s made his still life drawings simple. he used a limited amount of objects to draw in one composition, basing his choice of objects on everyday domestic items, such as; bottles, boxes, jugs, jar etc. He would paint them with a ‘flat matt colour’ to show them without any lettering. He would paint this way to allow him to explore the objects abstract qualities and re-arrange into different compositions.
Once he has set up his objects and decided on a composition the objects work together creating a quality that reflects the architectural scene of medieval Italy – a style in which he feels comfortable with. (Art Factory, 2016)
His choice of subject mater could easily be seen as receptive and boring. However his intensity of his observation raises his drawings to the ‘next level’. He slows down the fast paced movement of multi media and focuses for a length of time on still life objects for his paintings. ‘Morandi always looked at his still life objects as if he was seeing them for the first time’. He would concentrate on the form and shape of each individual object and then reflect on how they work together as a group. He focuses not only on the objects themselves but the space between and around the, – the negative space. Once happy with the arrangement of objects, he would then draw around the bases of the objects.
“It takes me weeks to make up my mind which group of bottles will go well with a particular colored tablecloth……Then it takes me weeks of thinking about the bottles themselves, and yet often I still go wrong with the spaces. Perhaps I work too fast?”
He carefully things about the negative space that he creates. (Art Factory, 2016)
Use of light
Morandi’s use of light creates a very peaceful and tranquil mood in his paintings. The way he uses light suggests that the image was painted at a particular time of day. His distinctive use of light convey Monet’s influence in paintings such as; ‘Haystacks’ and ‘Rouen Cathedral’. He would complete his paintings over several days which meant that the source of light would change from one day to the next. This explains the fragility of the outlines in his forms, as he draws/paints on top of each drawing from one day to the next. (Art Factory, 2016)
He considers his composition terminally important in creating a perfect painting. His negative space is just as important as the objects (positive space). He uses light in his paintings to between the two creating a real life, still life painting that can be seen as 3D.
I might play around with some objects an experiment with photography to grasp an understanding of composition and Morandi’s use of space within a still life group. I have never considered composition an important principle of art so I think I would benefit from taking a step back and appreciating it for a while. Even if its not drawing but photography ideas.
I also like the idea that he would draw around the bases of his objects. I have an idea to create a 3D drawing from this. Paint it and then photograph it and would look like a Morandi painting.
Focusing on his work and really looking at his paintings he create a very fragile and inconsistent line. His objects aren’t rigid. There are no strong shard lines. I feel that his work is quite textured in his use of line and marks – you can see brushstrokes. There is a very slight movement to his pieces. With Morandi eliminating the text and advertising on the objects, I feel it creates a stronger narrative between the viewer, the objects and the piece.
Tate. (s.d) Giorgio Morandi. At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/giorgio-morandi-1660 (Accessed on 10 November 2016)
Art Factory. (2016) Giorgio Morandi – Natura Morta (Still Life). At: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/still_life/giorgio_morandi.htm (Accessed on 10 November 2016)
Figure 1. Morandi, G. (1956) Still Life with Five Objects [etching] At: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/554.2000/ (Accessed on 27 December 2017)
Figure 2. Morandi, G. (1956) Natura Morta (Still Life) [oil on canvas] At: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/still_life/giorgio_morandi.htm (Accessed on 27 December 2017)
Figure 3. Morandi, G. (1956) Natura Morta (Still Life) [oil on canvas] At: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/still_life/giorgio_morandi.htm (Accessed on 27 December 2017)
Figure 4. Morandi, G. (1951) Still Life with Cups and Boxes [oil on canvas] At: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/still_life/giorgio_morandi.htm (Accessed on 27 December 2017
I would now like to experiment with different compositions. MY tutor mentioned about using photographs to experiment and learn so I plan to now investigate into Morandi’s style compositions and still life’s…