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Morandi e l'arte dell'incisione

Etching plays a key role in the artistic career of Giorgio Morandi who is one of its best representatives, certainly one of the most meaningful ones in Europe. He started to self-learn this technique between 1907 and 1912, spending many hours studying the copies of the works of old etching masters. He carefully and extendedly observed the most difficult and obscure works by Rembrandt of whom he owned four original etchings and a complete folio volume containing the reproductions of his entire etching collection. It goes without saying that Morandi never tried to imitate the style or subjects of the Dutch master; on the contrary he was interested in his indubitable mastery of this technique, which requires an extreme steady hand, a sharp eye and a deep technical know-how.

Between 1912 and 1956 Morandi works mostly on etching (a part from one ceramolle, two dry-point works and one wood-engraving) using zinc or copper plates later given to Carlo Alberto Petrucci, another talented etcher and skilled director of the Calcografia Nazionale of Rome (the institute owns today almost all Morandi's plates). As a matter of fact Morandi asks Petrucci to issue his plates, always in very limited numbers and by keeping an eye on the whole process. The rigour of etching will be one of the pillars of his teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna. In 1930, thanks to his "very highest repute", he gets the chair of etching, which he will keep until 1956. By the way, as he said to Edith Schloss in 1961: “Etching at least is a technique, something tangible to teach. Art can't be taught."