Door 4: Giorgio Morandi

Dedicating his life to a single art form is one thing but then again focus within this form on a single style, is a whole other level. An artist, who did so, is the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, who nearly spent his entire artistic life on still-lifes. Following the footsteps of Jeane-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, a French 18th century painter, and Paul Cézanne, but in a modern, 20th century, light.

Still Life (1914)

Born in 1890 in Bologna, he started studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown at at the age of 17. Two years later, he had his first encounter with the oeuvre of Paul Cézanne, that would change his life. In the same year his father died and the family moved to Via Fondazza, making him the head of the family.

Still Life (1918)

After shortly flirting with the Futurist movement in 1914 and trying to depict metaphysical still-lifes between 1918 to 1922, he devoted his entire artistic focus besides a few landscapes on still-lifes. He once wrote, he is only interested in space, light, color, and form. He did this by subtlety depicting apparently simple subjects, which were limited mainly to vases, bottles, bowls, cans, and flowers that he had in his studio.

Morandi's studio in via Fondazza

At the end of the 1930's the objects in his paintings became more and more simple geometrical forms. Thereby his repetition of seemingly similar still-lifes is an important tool as one sees the subtle developments and changes of his style. He was an active painter with 1350 oil paintings and 133 etchings. Next to his artistic work he also taught drawing from 1914 until 1929 at an elementary school and was professor from 1930 until 1956 at the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Bologna.

Still Life (1946)

At the end of his life he gained more and more international recognition, next to winning the first prize for painting at the Venice Biennale in 1948, he was also featured in the first documenta in 1955 and won the grand prize at the São Paulo biennial in 1957.

Despite the success during his lifetime he enjoyed a modest and simple life. He worked from his bedroom studio at Via Fondazza in Bologna through almost his entire career, only moving to a rural house in Grizzana, southwest of Bologna in 1960. Also he only traveled two times out of the country in his whole life. Giorgio Morandi died of lung cancer in 1964.