Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry

Some 80 rarely seen watercolours, drawings and etchings have been gathered together for this overview of Morandi's subtle and elusive art – one of the largest surveys of his graphic art staged outside Italy.

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1960 Courtesy Galleria d’Arte Maggiore G.A.M., Bologna (Italy)

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1960

Giorgio Morandi (1890­–1964) may be a master of understatement, but he is one of the stars of the Estorick Collection. He is best known for his quietly poetic still lifes, small in scale and unassuming, which represent everyday objects such as jugs, bottles and drinking vessels. There are plenty of them here, as well as landscapes and flowers.

Monochrome prints and drawings are on show with the watercolours, so viewers have a chance to compare the way that Morandi worked in the different media, but simplicity and minimalism always prevail, creating a strange beauty that encourages a fresh look at what is familiar. In the final room is a series of fascinating doctored photographs of Comune di Grizzana Morandi, where the artist lived.

Don't miss

The late watercolours at the end of the show are major attractions. In Still Life (1960) a late, very minimal still life verging on abstraction objects are merely hinted at with delicate dabs of watercolour. 

Venue details

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art 39a Canonbury Square London N1 2AN 020 7704 9522

Entry details

£2.50 with National Art Pass (£5 standard entry)

Open all year

Weds - Sat, 11am - 6pm

Sun, 12am - 5pm


To book, call 020 7704 9522

What the critics say


His painting is made of subtle shifts and inflections, which melt the outlines of things and make the fall of light and shade seem almost palpable


Why was Morandi so obsessed with everyday bric-a-brac? And how did he manage to make it so magical and mysterious?