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Famous Artists: Giorgio Morandi

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Master of Still-Life Bottles
Famous artist Morandi paintings

Morandi's painting studio, with his easel and table where he would set out the objects for a still-life composition. On the left you can see is a door with a window, a source of natural light. (Click on photos to see larger version)

Photo © Serena Mignani / Imago Orbis

The 20th century Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (see photo) is most famous for his still-life paintings, though he also painted landscapes and flowers. His style is characterized by painterly brushwork using muted, earthy colors, with an overall effect of serenity and otherworldliness to the objects depicted.

Giorgio Morandi was born on 20 July 1890 in Bologna, Italy, at Via delle Lame 57. After the death of his father, in 1910, he moved into an apartment at Via Fondazza 36 with his mother, Maria Maccaferri (died 1950), and his three sisters, Anna (1895-1989), Dina (1900-1977), and Maria Teresa (1906-1994). He would live in this building with them for the rest of his life, moving to a different apartment in 1933 and in 1935 getting the studio that has been preserved and is now part of the Morandi Museum.

Morandi died on 18 June 1964 in his flat at Via Fondazza. His last signed painting was dated February of that year.

Morandi also spent a lot of time in the mountain village of Grizzana, about 22 miles (35km) west of Bologna, eventually having a second home there. He first visited the village in 1913, loved to spend the summers there, and spent most of the last four years of his life there.

He earned a living as an art teacher, supporting his mother and sisters. In the 1920s his financial situation was a bit precarious, but in 1930 he got a steady teaching job at the art academy he'd attended.

Next: Morandi's art education...

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