Art, Influencing Me, Photography

Influencing Me – Giorgio Morandi

When I started my Fine Arts Degree at the VCA quite a few of my lecturers told me that my drawing skills weren’t very good.  As you can imagine, I was devastated, but I decided that I needed to do something about it.  So, for the following semester developing my drawing skills became my number one focus.  I didn’t want to have to think about what to draw, so I choose jugs, all shapes and all sizes.  I actually became quite obsessed with the jugs.  I started to position them as though they were people.

It was at this time that I was told to look at the artist Giorgio Morandi.  He was a painter, but he is also known as being a printmaker.  He did many etchings.  His work was landscape and still life.  I was never a real fan of his landscapes, but I did love his still life etchings.

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life with Five Objects. 1956.
Giorgio Morandi, Still Life with Five Objects. 1956.

He didn’t use his still life objects in the same way I did, but I liked the shapes and the way he depicted them.

Grande natura morta con la caffettiera

Sometimes there didn’t seem any reason behind the set ups.  Everything was just put together.  I liked the way the straight objects interacted with the more curvy shapes.

Giorgio Morandi, 'Still Life with Drapery to the Left', 1927

When we do still life’s these days there seems to be an emphasis on some hidden meaning, so it is nice to see work where there was no meaning.  It is just a still life.  Experimenting with different objects, shapes, and of course the lighting.

Still Life by Giorgio Morandi 1933.

Learning how to draw properly is great to do by looking at printmakers.  Printmakers are primarily drawers, but they draw in many different ways.  It is very easy to see how he applied light and shade to his work and therefore it was easy to observe and study for my own work.

Morandi was a very important artist to me back then.  Not so much now, but when I learning to draw, I spent a lot of time looking at his work.  I remember seeing a show on Australian artist Margaret Olley (she will feature on one of these Monday’s soon) and they were taking a visit with her to the Gallery of NSW, she walked up to some prints by Morandi and said something like, now that is real art.  I loved that.  One of the things that inspired me about Morandi were the shapes of the objects and even now I find it hard to go past an object that has an interesting shape, you know just in case I want to use it in a still life photograph.

Leanne Cole, "Left Out", 2012

Not a print, but a photograph that is inspired by Morandi, though not literally.  I did an etching of this when I was at Uni, and did it in the cross hatch method that Morandi used.  It was an interesting thing to do, though not something I would do now.  I have a massive collection of jugs now, all shapes, all sizes and all colours.  Not sure what I will do with them now, they just sit around the house everywhere.

If you want to see one of the prints I did, then click here.

Morandi was very important to me once, and while I do think of him sometimes when doing some still life images, I tend to think of other artists now.


  1. I have a thing for bottles so I understand. You determination to learn to draw well is very inspiring. I love the Morandi sketches and yours as well. Love this photo too. Enjoyed reading this post :)

  2. Congratulations on your acceptance into the Press Corps at the cycling event – a real feather in your cap. Now I can anticipate lots more biking images. Forgive me for asking … but why the desire to attend? As an observer who likes to take photos? Or, will you have a venue at which to sell your images? Will you be taking them for a newspaper or magazine or biking blog? Just thought I’d ask. D

  3. Congratulations Leanne! I like both of the HDR photos, but I am more drawn to the b/w, perhaps it is more reminiscent of Morandi-and thank you for continuing to share your influences and what you have learned from them-it is very helpful to me. Seeing your still life studies, makes me what to explore that genre more myself.

  4. Al Kline says

    That’s a beautiful subject. Still life can be pretty amazing when the composition is right.

  5. Photographic still life is a lot harder than it looks.

    I had never heard of Giorgio Morandi before now. I will have to look into him more.

  6. Pingback: Influencing Me – Margaret Olley | Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY

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