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Giorgio Morandi (Twentieth-Century Masters Series) Hardcover – January 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

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Few major twentieth-century artists seem duller at first glance than Morandi (1890^-1964). Except for some very early portraits, his work is "about" just three things: the landscape, with windowless houses, of hilly northern Italy; the courtyard of Morandi's apartment building in Bologna; and bottles, bowls, boxes, and other utensils atop a table. His palette of dusty hues is more subdued than that of the cubists, he regards his subjects from directly in front of them, and, except in the paintings from the year he was influenced by Di Chirico, he eschews dramatic effects. Those who know painting, however, see Morandi as the greatest disciple of Ce zanne and a painter whose subject is seeing itself and who, in the acts of seeing and representing, teases out meaning and feeling. Wilkin, one of the best contemporary writers on art, helps us realize Morandi's relationship to Ce zanne and also to the much earlier Giotto and Piero della Francesca brilliantly well. With 116 plates, an excellent library choice. Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Series: Twentieth-Century Masters Series
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847819477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847819478
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Gunning on February 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's true, this book is my oldest possession, from an earlier printing, I've had this book since the early 70's. If you are a painter and want to learn how to put space and light into your work then this book is your greatest resource and greatest challenge. For those in the know, Morandi is THE ONE for creating a palpable space in two demensions. The space shimmers and moves - it's real!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dave D. on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The color quality of the plates (or reproductions of the paintings) in this book are terrible. One plate was even backwards. I am not reviewing the authors writing in any way, but who would want an art book that had lousy pictures of the art?

Here is how I know:

I recently was visiting my mother in NYC when I went to the Morandi show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love Morandi so much I went to the museum bookstore afterwords to buy a book. I have a masters degree in fine art with a major in painting so I know when buying an art book to check the quality of the photographic plates, especially for color. I repeat, this book has terrible reproduction quality (for example the light greens appear a dark brownish green and the contrast is to high - this last point is not to picky as Morandi's color palette is very delicate - and high contrast ruins it.)

The best book I found at the Museum store (I am going from memory here) was the one published by Museo Morandi (I did not see it for sale on Amazon). A very close second was Giorgio Morandi 1890-1964: Nothing Is More Abstract Than Reality (Hardcover), published for the show at the Met. (One note, the book on sale at the museum has a different color cover, but otherwise it seems to be the same as the one found on Amazon.) Good luck!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Orley Kathleen Marron on June 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The prints are excellent - both in terms of variety and quality of print. I use them in classes and they are really a treasure. The text is very readable and enjoyable as well (though I care more about the print quality).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books on Morandi that I've come across. Wilkin's text is wonderfully clear and objective, and mercifully free of "art babble." The illustrations are well chosen and very, very well printed. Not everyone "gets" Morandi, as Wilkin points out, but this representation of his work will certainly make a few converts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Russell on April 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a handsome coffee table book of 116 paintings and sketches, most of which are in color, from the artwork of Giorgio Morandi, where Karen Wilkin writes 35 pages of text providing the background, the influences and biographical highlights of the artist. She also sprinkles in comments on Morandi's art along with quotes from the artist, for example, when Morandi described himself as "a believer in Art for Art's sake rather than in Art for the sake of religion, of social justice or of national glory. Nothing is more alien to me than an art that sets out to serve other purposes than those implied by the work of art in itself. . . . "

I was drawn to the art of Morandi when I read how the German existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger said how the still lifes of Morandi were able to make the nature of things experienced and comprehended in ways that a philosophical essay was not. This observation coupled with Maurice Merleau-Ponty noting how a painting can display a kind of openness and immersion in the world that we, as viewers, can learn a great deal from.

And I am prompted to write a review of this book on Morandi's art after viewing a course on the world's greatest paintings given by William Kloss, where Professor Kloss encouraged students of art to "trust your eyes, but use them well," and how we should not avoid the responsibility to read a painting as well as trusting our initial response. So, with this trusting and reading in mind, I will venture on what is for me new ground, since my reviews to date have been mainly on books of ancient philosophy, aesthetics and literature.

Let's look at plate number 82, Still Life, 13 x 17 ½, oil on canvas. Set out on a table, three small cylindrical objects touch one another in the middle of the painting.
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