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Giorgio Morandi  

at the Met

   
 

Restrained Delirium

   

 

  

 

The Italian painter, Giorgio Morandi, spent his life creating an oeuvre that is delirious in the most subtle, contemplative fashion.  He created a world of endless painting: variations of the same still lifes over and over again--a refined world of domestic simplicity.  Bottles, boxes, and bowls that appear and reappear, all labels removed, everything abstracted, so that reality itself is reduced to shape and form and color-the crockery serving as pure elements in beautiful abstract compositions that are possessed of a certain peaceful rhythm and balance.  The current show at the Metropolitan Museum brings together a wonderfully large and comprehensive collection of his paintings and we think this show is a must-see! 

Morandi's colors are muted and earthy, a very Roman palette--the colors of Italian houses-terracotta, sienna, burnt umber, ochre, the faded colors of Italy itself.  The browns shading into creams and grays, and in the few still lifes of flowers there is also the blush of pink or the palest hint of lemon yellow. 

Morandi himself said, "There is nothing more surreal, nothing more abstract than reality." And in his paintings objects seem to lose their very materiality--the glass of his bottles is never glass, but is transformed into color, shape, form, and sometimes, shadow.  A painter's painter, Morandi worked as a professor and the art world was always peripheral to his working life.  And in the end what is not said, what is removed, the colors and details that are hidden, this restraint, is what is so glorious about his work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
 

Visit: The Metropolitan Museum

Read: Giorgio Morandi, Karen Wilkin

Read: Looking at the Overlooked, essays

 

Tags:  art  italy  museums    

 

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