The Netherlandish pictorial genre of still life evolved independently during the seventeenth century, and was called stilleven – which, as in English, means ‘life at rest’. It was the study of this significant northern tradition that gave Bruno Morato the starting point to create still lifes that correspond so well to the Netherlandish aesthetic, as compositions of objects painted with grace and precision. For this genre, his gaze has a twofold focus: the first is that of portraying daily life by selecting utensils, books, musical instruments, baskets and jugs of various types, fruit, vegetables, and flowers; and the second, producing a nearly photographic rendering of volumes and chiaroscuri. While in the past he painted objects with bolder and thicker colours, in his still lifes Morato deploys a palette of refined, blended tones, as well as dedicating himself to more consequential themes and dimensions. It is also thanks to the study of Chardin’s elegant and essential still lifes that he began a process of simplification of forms, which has grown stronger in recent years. Now he requires merely minor supports, and a single subject – Il ramo di cachi [Branch of the persimmon tree], Il tralcio di vite [Grapevine tendril] – to communicate his intense artistic sensibility. Having matured, his painting is livelier than ever, more prodigious in experimentation in different genres and new techniques; this is manifest in his original perspectival choices, and via the human figure it conveys, with a refined and moving humanity, the drama of the exodus of less fortunate peoples.
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