We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Still life



Giorgio Morandi


20 Jul 1890 – 18 Jun 1964

  • Details

    Alternative title
    Natura morta
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    35.2 x 44.8 cm sight; 61.2 x 70.8 x 4.8 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed u.r., white oil paint "Morandi". Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by Rob and Jenny Ferguson and the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 2007
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Giorgio Morandi/SIAE. Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Giorgio Morandi

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘Still life’ 1947 is the third painting by Giorgio Morandi to enter the Gallery’s collection. Painted earlier than our other two paintings (1949 and 1957), and one year before Morandi won the first prize for painting at the 1948 Venice Biennale, one of the major turning points in his career. Over the ten year span of these three still-lifes, Morandi remained perfectly consistent in his approach to painting. He was able to make an extraordinary virtue of his self-limitation. What some have construed as a poetics of silence and others as a pathology of withdrawal, Morandi’s contemporaries recognised as qualities of his uprightness and decency: he was one of the few Italian artists of his generation who resisted the taint of fascism. In addition, the narrow compass of Morandi’s art proved wonderfully conductive to concentrating the mind and heightening the senses.

    ‘Still life’ 1947 has all the hallmarks of classic Morandi paintings because of its quite radical and unrelenting opacity, frontality and symmetry. As a consequence of these qualities, viewers are made acutely conscious of the unity of the image, surface, shape and size of the canvas; they are confronted by the fleshiness of Morandi’s paint. Thus attuned, the altered pressure of Morandi’s touch, slight squirms and tremors in the drag of his brush, infinitesimal shifts in tone and colour are registered as events of exquisite artistry.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 9 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 7 publications

  • Provenance

    Galleria del Milione, Milan/Italy, stamp verso, no dates

    Galleria del Secolo, Rome/Italy, label verso no dates

    Galleria d'Arte R. Rotta, Genoa/Italy, 1953, exhibited in 'Mostra d'Arte Contemporanea' cat.no.28

    Galleria d'Art Zanini, Rome/Italy, stamp verso, no dates

    Galleria Annunciata, Milan/Italy, stamp verso, no dates

    Rezzonico Collection, Locarno/Switzerland, by 1988, lent to 'Progetto Morandi Europa, antologica' travelling exhibition and Kunstmuseum Winterthur 2000

    Crane Kalman Gallery, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Crane Kalman Gallery 2007

Other works by Giorgio Morandi

See all 8 works