Magnificent Morandi

I may be biased, as Giorgio Morandi has always been among my favorite artists, but his current retrospective at the Met entitled Giorgio Morandi, 1990-1964, is outstanding for the breadth of work it shows and for the understanding it provides of the progression of this incredible artist’s work through time. Tackling the very large questions of perception of space and light, Morandi moved in delicate, quiet steps from one interpretation of a still life to another, often making nearly imperceptible shifts in the “landscapes” he composed. The subtle yet astonishing variations of his work act together in this exhibition almost as a murmur of his effect and of his style. The variations in texture, handling of light and shadow and perspective lull the viewer into his world, where he gently builds to a crescendo and then begins to tackle a scene again from a different angle. His landscape paintings (though fewer of them in this show, echo the erroneous public perception that he was more of a still life painter than a landscape painter) also seem to become manipulated or arranged space in the hands of the artist. The swaths of grass or sky or trees become almost objects in his landscape still lifes. Take your time as you walk through the exhibit to notice the subtle changes in perspective, background, the texture of his surfaces and the solidity of his objects. Through December 14, 2008 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.