Morandi's Natura morta of 1952 is a beautiful exemple of the artist's investigation into the spatial relationships between everyday objects, in this instance including bottles and a large pitcher. Negative space between the objects assumes confrontational immediacy and shadows are reduced to quivering outlines that frame simplified shapes of primary hues, while the luminosity of the central pair of white bottles resonates with the translucent grey backdrop. The deliberate play between what is known and what can only be guessed at is at the heart of Morandi's fascination with the visible world. Increasingly he became absorbed in creating permutations of the same objects, and we witness the same leitmotifs repeated time and again. The tall, slender bottles give the composition a sense of grace and classical beauty, while at the same time providing a dynamic contrast with the darker objects behind them.
Giorgio Morandi's meticulously composed still-lifes dominated in his painting throughout his career. Like other painters of his generation, he looked at the Italian art of the early Renaissance with fresh eyes, simultaneously conscious of the legacy of tradition as well as the regional and rustic aspects of his Italian cultural heritage. Additionally vital was the legacy of Paul Cézanne, whose intense focus on reality and individual way of seeing encouraged Morandi to discover the simple geometric solidity of everyday objects. This was to become his subject, although his style moved through several very distinct phases. The objects, invariably household items such as bottles, jars, pitchers and bowls, were laid out with the calculated precision of a classical composition, yet the way in which they are painted establishes their presence as self-contained forms in space.
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