Compositional Annalysis of Giorgio Morandi and Pierre Bonnards Interiors and Still Life.

The feedback I recieved from Assignments 1 and 2 were to “Research Giorgio Morandi and analyse his compositions on your blog.  Pierre Bonnard’s interiors / still life- Analyse the structure of foreground / middle / background- then try these in your preparatory drawings”.

Giorgio Morandi 1890-1964

This article on Tate: is a  good overview of Morandi’s Life and description of the painting below.

There is a peacefulness and stillness about Morandis compositions that I enjoy however looking at Morandis compsoitions I feel a little confused as to what is a good composition- the objects in many of the paintings seem purposefully placed centrally which I feel misses a narrative. It is simple object representation painted to capture a sense of the scene. Maybe this is something I need to try- just repeatedly drawing the mundane objects of no perticular meaning or narrative to see what occurs?

This painting in particular and others I have viewed has the objects placed very close together. The foreground has 3 objects that create a geometrical pull to the two objects in the middle ground presenting a 3 to 2 Triangular structure.The background is a an expressive wash of paint implying movement. I noticed that Giorgio Morandi uses alot of muted blues, beige or browns assuming to represnt the wall colour and brown as the wood for the table that reminds me of similar backgrounds by Cezanne and  other Vanitas  still life artists (See blog post on Still Life).

The objects are hinted to be placed on a table in the forground with a subtle hint of shadow in the background that are unrelated to objects in the painting.

Giorgio Morandi, 'Still Life' 1946

Fig 1 Giorio Morandi Still Life 1946

Questioning what is a good composition? has led me to do some research on this subject- what are the rules or description of a good still life composition?


Fig 2 Compositions on Pinterest


Fig 3 Composition Cheat Sheet

I found theese illustration’s and cheat sheets on pinterest and remeber reviewing something similar years ago, interestingly the theory is inside me subconsciously as I have used the triangular and cropped composition in previous still life drawings. I also have identified that Assignmnet 2 has a circular layout following the objects through the cropped composition.

Piere Bonnard 1867-1947

Pierre Bonnard’s paintings have a lot more life about them than Giorgio Morandi. Bonnard uses more pattern and texture that create more complexities to objects and excitement in the environment that surrounds them. The colours are more vibrant and looking at a multitude of images and without knowing anything about the artist there is definitely a Mediterranean feel from the images that I always love in paintings and makes me feel happy.

Looking at Bonnards work against Morandi I have a clear preference for Bonnards exciting paintings. Bonnards work makes me feel alive but Morandis work is dull and depressing. Maybe Morandi’s work can be appreciated more when needing some calm to reflect on in life.

Again the tate have an excellent overview on the painters life and work;

Bonnard is a French born artist  who was a painter and printmaker. He was a founding member of a group of Avande Garde painters known as Les Nabis interested in comtemporary/ post impressionist art and literature.

It has been puzzling me for a while how describe his work. After watching Sky Arts Portrait Artist  of the year 2017 the winners programme Gareth Reid described Bonnards paintings perfectly as “Magic” because its hard to describe or copy how he painted them .


Fig 4 Pierre Bonnard Still Life (no date on reference)

I really like how the main focal point of the plate of fruit is situated in the foreground centrally and the table cloth’s pattern is used in the middle – backgound to pull the viewer into the painting. The very rear top right of the background hints at the interior of the room. There is a sense of touch about this painting that I really like that is emphasised with its soft palate of colour.

not_detected_221960(1).jpg!LargeFig 5 Pierre Bonnard White Interior 1932

The White Interior by Bonnard painted in 1932 is a little trickier to lable a distinctively or decisively. The table and objects are distincly in the foreground and the radiator to outside the door area is the background. The fireplace and floor are definately the middleground however I am debating the white door (centre). Initially I placed it in the middle ground however Im unsure if its intended for the background or a device to pull the viewer to a final viewpoint of the outside door.

Below is a photo taken from my sketch book to show my thought process on interpreting the forground, middleground and background within the composition.


Fig 1 Giorio Morandi Still Life 1946

Fig 2 Compositions featured on Pinterest

Fig 3 Composition Cheat sheet:

Fig 4 Pierre Bonnard Still life (undated)

Fig 5 Pierre Bonnard White Interior


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