CALL ME A PHILISTINE if you wish but I was underwhelmed by the much-hyped temporary exhibition of the works of the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), which is being shown until the 28th of May 2023 at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London’s Canonbury district. Morandi, who was born in Bologna (Italy), where he lived most of his life and died, was primarily a still-life and landscape artist. Without doubt, his works are both carefully and extremely well executed. However, his numerous still life works depicting bottles, jars, and other containers, did little to excite my interest in them. His landscape images appealed to me more, but not much more. For me, almost the best work in the show is a self-portrait, showing Morandi seated.
Compared with the other works in the Estorick’s permanent collection (e.g., Balla, De Chirico, Modigliani, Boccioni, Music, Greco, Manzu, and Russolo), all of which are highly creative and visually exciting, poor old Morandi’s work pales into insignificance. Having expressed my opinion about the temporary exhibition, I must admit that many of the other viewers I saw today seemed to find Morandi’s works of great interest. Many of them stood staring intensely at individual works for minutes rather than a few seconds. Few of the works in the exhibition grabbed my attention for more than a few instants.
Well, maybe I missed something that other people see in Morandi’s art, but if someone were to give me a genuine Morandi, I would sell it as quickly as possible, and might spend the money on a work by a more interesting Italian artist.