April 3 Art Minute: Giorgio Morandi, ‘Still Life with a Bottle’

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Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890-1964), Still Life with a Bottle. Oil on canvas, about 1951. 17 by 18 1/2 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1952.142. Gallery 3

Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890-1964), Still Life with a Bottle. Oil on canvas, about 1951. 17 by 18 1/2 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1952.142. Gallery 3

“I do one picture, and then I see the possibility of a new development. And so I do another and another. What is more human than to paint things made by man?”

Painting still lifes almost exclusively, in which he often repeated the same motifs over and over, Giorgio Morandi stood apart from the various intellectual and philosophical art movements of the early 20th century. Instead, he concentrated on the pictorial elements of space, light, form, and color, imparting no deliberate symbolism to his work. He was known to spend days setting up a composition in his studio, searching for the perfect harmony between the objects.

His subtle range of colors, careful grouping of the objects, lack of shadows, and deliberate application of paint lend monumentality to these everyday objects.


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