MORANDI Giorgio
Italian painter; born in 1890 in Bologna. Morandi's first landscape dates from 1911. He is one of the few Italian artists never to have been to Paris, although he underwent the Parisian influence in his first works. An aloof and lonely artist, he was to complete successfully the metaphysical cycle of Italian painting in 1918 and 1919, far from Ferrara where Chirico and Carrà had just painted their most famous works. As Chirico put it, Morandi 'sanctifies' Metaphysical Painting by reducing it to a kind of linear magic. The intelligence and sensitivity with which he recreates objects are more an engraver's than a painter's. Although he has painted a few beautiful landscapes, only a very few figure studies by him are known, among which is one self-portrait. His universe is the very humble world of still life. He gave up spheres, regular shapes and metaphysical polyhedrons, and a few familiar objects sufficed him: cups and sadad-bowls, long-necked bottles that he imprisoned in a very chaste line to produce a strange and rarefied atmosphere. Later, having gradually softened the rigour of his contour, he succeeded, halfway between Cubism and Impressionism, in finding his own personality in a delicate compromise between form and colour. Like Léger, he is capable of creating in atmosphere with three tones; but while the three tones of Léger have become more and more vivid and dazzling over the course of years, Morandi's modulations have been further toned down, as if he wanted to reduce painting to the semitones of etching. His tonal 'intimism' had great influence upon the Roman School (Scipione, Mafai, Cagli, Capogrossi), which was the most valid artistic expression on the peninsula under Fascism. The work of Morandi is perhaps the best that contemporary taste has produced in Italy.
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