Laura Cumming previews the exhibition Morandi: Works on Paper at the Estorick Collection, London, on view from January 16 – April 7, 2013.
Cumming writes that Morandi "is not known for his lines. Rather the opposite: in the hazy world of his painted still lifes, everything appears muzzy and soft. The famous objects appearing on the miniature stage of his table – the bottles, bowls, decanters and jugs – do so in something as hazy as limelight. You would not expect to look deep into these masterpieces of 20th-century art and see a sharp edge, an outline or anything as concise as a dot… The lines build up in meshes and weaves, steady, patient and strikingly judicious. It's as if he daren't rush it – this is an etching after all, where one false mark can lead to endless problems. But going through the show, you see that Morandi's graphic gifts are so subtle he is able to get over the finest variations of atmosphere, tone and light just through infinitely small variations in the direction of the crosshatchings. It's like a slight change of breeze, shifting the mood and the weather."