A detail. A minimal part, perhaps unnoticed by the eye, but which for Giorgio Morandi meant the reason for a painting. The Italian painter was not a traveled artist, but he did know how to take time to visit those exhibitions that celebrated his great masters in Italy, although many of the works of the creators he admired were seen in photography (except for the case of his admired Chardin, of who could see the original works). In front of a canvas, as a precursor of that tendency that is all that is slow, "slow", and art has already entered into that category (and even has a day that celebrates it), he kept an eye on a brushstroke, a stroke, for example, in a work by Tintoretto, an artist who was not exactly one of his favorites and in front of whom he was able to find a light that for the rest was stolen.
Four in four
From Morandi many have been made, many exhibitions. And more that they will still have to do; however, the one that now takes the rooms of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and that has had the sponsorship of Iberdrola and the curator of Petra Joos, has the particularity of placing his works in front of those of those he admired. For example, by Piero della Francesca, he felt true passion. His still lifes, those objects forming beautiful groups of four in four, five in five, six in six, have in their very essence the echo of the Renaissance. Its stylized bottles, like twin towers that rise in front of other short objects, come from that fifteenth-century aftertaste inspired by the lights or the folds of the garments. It is more evident, for example, in his "copies" of El Greco, as shown in "The Immaculate Conception of the Oballe Chapel", a jewel of the seventeenth century that has in the lower part a detail that Morandi endowed with own entity: a bunch of roses and lilies at the feet of angels and saints: "If I could understand what these flowers represent. No modern painter has painted flowers like these. Perhaps only Renoir ... "Maybe that's why he wrote:" I felt that only the understanding of the most vital works that painting had produced over the past centuries could guide me in finding my way. "
Morandi put into practice in each canvas that Van der Rohe's phrase "less is more". The painter groups objects, but not at any price, but his. Gather and join with perspective. In the foreground that sort of set that has an internal unity and in which you can almost feel the masses. In the background, the pastel strokes that seem to frame it, rocking it at times, painted around. What does Master Chardin have to do with Italian? Just everything. It serves as an example "Kitchen table", dated in 1746 and that holds much more than a parallel with "Still life with a cloth on the left", of 1927, of beauty and silent mastery. Both of them. Do not you remember, perhaps, "Still life with yellow cloth", 1924? Jean-Baptiste Simeon de Chardin is an inexhaustible source for Italian. Blessed kitchen tables. How blessed are the objects that he knew how to distinguish in Zurbarán's paintings, and extract them, absorb them and make them his own.