Inspired perhaps by the great master etchers Rembrandt and Goya, whom he profoundly admired, Morandi begun to make prints in 1912, when he was still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. Etching became a significant part of his artistic practice, in particular during the period of 1928-1934, when he made the majority of his prints and, although entirely self-trained as a printmaker, Morandi held the Chair in Printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna from 1930 until 1956.
Grande Natura morta con la Lampada a destra is one of the largest and most elegant still-lifes created during these years of intense print production, the epitome of his style and printing technique.
Highly methodical in his use of the etched line, Morandi creates shapes, volume and space by varying the density of his marks, by hatching and cross-hatching alone, thus avoiding the use of a descriptive outline. The resulting system of shaded surfaces is contrasted with areas completely untouched by the needle - bianco assoluto ('absolute white'), as Morandi called it - which create a highly atmospheric chiaroscuro effect.
As Giorgio de Chirico noted, Morandi was a master of uncovering the metaphysics of the most commonplace objects, that is, of discerning the poetry within those things that habit has rendered too familiar - objects we see but no longer pay attention to.
Although Morandi exhibited with the Futurists in 1914, he was never much influenced by their aesthetics or cultural agenda. He was very familiar with the metaphysical works of de Chirico and Carr, yet probably felt the greatest affinity with the strapaese movement, which was inspired by provincial cultural traditions.