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Western art

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Still life



Giorgio Morandi


20 Jul 1890 - 18 Jun 1964


Giorgio Morandi was a reclusive man who specialised in painting still life pictures, called in Italian 'natura morta'. He lived and worked in an apartment in Bologna which he shared with his sisters, in relative isolation from the current art movements. Here he devoted himself to the contemplation of familiar, everyday objects that he had collected over many years, arranging and depicting them with great subtlety. Although they are mostly intimate in scale, Morandi's paintings are strangely grand in feeling. Perhaps this is because his unremarkable, dusty bottles, bowls and vases have been combined and spaced so carefully that they reverberate with an uncanny tension. The pale, often greyish surfaces of inanimate objects in his works acquire a tremulous physicality. Brushing in dry, matte pigments with a sensitively varied touch, Morandi lends an organic quality to the wobbly geometry of the compositions. His still life objects seem bathed in a pearly atmosphere. The opaque surfaces are thoroughly enigmatic, but evoke cloudy skies or times of the day, nuanced moods and qualities of stillness or immensity, all within the confines of a tabletop. In the end, Morandi's silent art becomes a form of meditation.


Alternative title

Natura morta



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


32.5 x 42.0 cm stretcher; 44.5 x 54.8 x 5.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.c., grey oil "Morandi". Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Lady Maisie Drysdale Bequest, the Ruth Komon Bequest in memory of Rudy Komon and the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 2004


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Giorgio Morandi

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Galerie d'Art Monte Carlo, Monte-Carlo/Monaco, Purchased by the AGNSW from Galerie d'Art Monte Carlo 2004

Referenced in 2 publications


Edmund Capon, Look, 'Morandi's visual poetry', pg.11, Sydney, Jun 2005, 11 (colour illus.).

Lamberto Vitali, Morandi: catalogo generale, Milan, 1983, (illus.).