Still Life (Cups and Boxes) (1951) by Giorgio Morandi

Still Life (Cups and Boxes) - Giorgio Morandi - 1951

Artwork Information

TitleStill Life (Cups and Boxes)
ArtistGiorgio Morandi
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions22.5 x 50 cm
Art MovementMagic Realism
Current LocationKunstsammlung Nordrhein

About Still Life (Cups and Boxes)

“Still Life (Cups and Boxes)” is an artwork created by Italian artist Giorgio Morandi in 1951. Executed using oil on canvas, this painting is a modestly sized work, measuring 22.5 x 50 cm. The piece is housed in the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein and it belongs to the genre of still life. Morandi is often associated with Magic Realism, an art movement characterized by the meticulous depiction of ordinary subjects with a sense of mystery or wonder.

The artwork depicts a serene arrangement of household objects on a flat surface. Morandi’s palette is muted, consisting of earthy and pastel tones that harmonize with one another. On the left, two cups or bowls are placed, one partially obscured by the other. The bowl in front appears predominantly white with a dark band encircling its upper portion. Beside the bowl, a little green and white object, which might be a small decorative item, adds a subtle touch of color contrast to the composition.

Next to these, a sequence of rectangular shapes, resembling books or boxes, stand upright. These forms provide a geometric counterpoint to the rounded vessels, and they exhibit Morandi’s signature fascination with subtle variations in color, light, and shadow. The interplay of these simple shapes creates a sense of quiet tension and balance within the artwork. The boxes have slight shifts in tonality, perhaps to reflect light sources and create a subtle illusion of depth.

The background and surface are depicted with minimal detail, allowing viewers to focus on the still life arrangement itself. The brushwork is softly textured, and Morandi’s careful application of paint emphasizes the stillness and contemplative quality of the scene. The painting evokes a meditative calmness, inviting viewers to ponder the beauty and complexity found in ordinary objects.

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