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Artist Giorgio Morandi was a veritable master of his craft. Born in the Italian province of Bologna in 1890, he dedicated his life to perfecting the minimalist still life paintings he has since become renowned for. His education in art was relatively rudimentary –  he taught himself to etch from books of Rembrandt’s work, picking up French influences along the way – Cézanne, Derain and Picasso were among his favourites – in spite of his determinedly Italian environment. As reports go, he was reserved in all things, from the quiet and polite way he conducted his relationships, to his lack of romantic attachment. He was nicknamed ‘il monaco’ for his quiet life, and lived with his sisters until his death in 1964 at the age of 73.