Press Release

A Backward Glance: Giorgio Morandi and the Old Masters

  • April 12 – October 6, 2019
  • Curated by: Petra Joos, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in collaboration with Giovanni Casini, and in consultation with Vivien Greene, Senior Curator of 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  • Sponsored by: Iberdrola

The Bolognese painter Giorgio Morandi represented everyday objects in his still lifes, distilling the mundane subject matter to its pure, essential form in his compositions.

This exhibition brings together, for the first time, Morandi’s signature paintings and a selection of Old Master works that informed his artistic practice throughout his career.

Each of the three galleries creates a dialogue between Morandi’s paintings and specific Old Master works and highlights prominent qualities the Italian artist absorbed from these precursors: the theatricality of 17th-century Spanish painting; the naturalism of the Italian Seicento; and the intimacy and geometry of Chardin.

Morandi concentrated on discrete details in the Old Master canvases that he admired, such as El Greco’s flowers; Zurbarán’s use of light to evince form; the humble details in the compositions of Crespi, an 18th-century Bolognese artist; and Chardin’s houses of cards.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents A Backward Glance: Giorgio Morandi and the Old Masters. This survey of a great 20th-century Italian painter explores the relationships between his still lifes and some of his main art historical sources. Sponsored by Iberdrola, this exhibition brings together, for the first time, an extensive selection of Morandi’s exceptional paintings and works by the Old Masters who impacted his artistic practice, which spanned over four decades, from post-World War I to the early 1960s.

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