Painted in 1952, Natura morta shimmers with its suffused light, perfectly invoking the atmosphere of reflection and contemplation that is so central to Morandi's paintings. In his still life paintings, Morandi would spend hours and sometimes days arranging the various vessels, in this case bottles and a pitcher, until they sang with a certain visual harmony. In this way, he condensed the visual rhythms of nature into a miniature domestic landscape within the highly controlled and intimate confines of his own studio. There is an ikebana-like finesse to the arrangement, which uses spaces as much as the objects, creating a sort of metaphysical musical score out of the objects of the real world. The objects in Natura morta become almost abstract, no longer signifying themselves, but instead hinting at Morandi's perception of a pictorial code underlying nature.
While Morandi in this way carried on, albeit in his own unique manner, the Metafisica legacy, Natura morta also reflects his deep and almost spiritual simplicity both as an artist and as a man. The ascetism of his life extended into his paintings, which radiate a gentle spirituality. These qualities are reflected in Morandi's own assertion that he was 'essentially a painter of the kind of still life composition that communicates a sense of tranquillity and privacy, moods which I have always valued above all else' (Morandi, quoted in 'Giorgio Morandi: the dimension of inner space', in exh. cat., Giorgio Morandi, Sydney, 1997, p. 12).