If anyone were to ask "What makes an artist or art great"? it is always hard to give a clear answer. The necessary criteria for a great art or artist isn't so easily defined. This is more so in the current period of time where almost "anything goes" under the rubric of "I can, so i do" and of course many artists avail themselves of this freedom. Unfortunately, it is getting more and more difficult to identify that art which has substance and i'm talking here about the inherent rigorous nature of the artists vision and intelligence which rests in the art work itself. I'm not talking about scale here, i'm talking about monumentality in the work itself!
Morandi's work acts as a yardstick to measure quality by and what a big yardstick it is! Much artwork today when put to the Morandi test is "found wanting" for lack of a better term. What do i mean by this? I mean, the singularity of vision and the working through of fundamental problems contingent to the medium and the epoch is absent in the work itself. We can talk here about certain object qualities such as beauty, mystery, sublimity, innate materiality, transcendence, intelligence and author attribute signification. There are some potent examples of this, for example, Rembrandt, Picasso, Vermeer, Goya, Manet, Caravaggio, Martin, Judd to name just a few where the work is imbued with a singularity that no on can dispute. The work is synonymous with the artist and with the time in which they lived and worked, although often embodied revolutionary notions and future portent.
In short, Morandi is the embodiment of what an artist should be attempting and the work is evidence of what can be done if a singularity of vision is present.
This video is short and does little justice to the man or his work; it is just a glimpse. Morandi was a private man and averse to public adulation for the most part and died prior to the digital media generation so not much is available in the way of interviews or biographical material on film.
Please check out his work further online as many images and some articles are available to read. There are also a number of excellent academic books available which attempt to examine and explain his work including, "Giorgio Morandi: The Art Of Silence" by Janet Abramowicz a former assistant of his.