At present the Prado Museum in Madrid has a wonderful collection of art on loan from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. At the very end of the exhibition I came upon a fascinating painting, "Metaphysical Still Life," by Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), The written explanation next to the work made the painting all the more interesting. I've long been puzzled by the influence -- including political influence -- that material artifacts exercise within human affairs. Morandi's view of the situation moves the question to a truly sublime level. Here's the text on the wall.
Morandi used the methods of "Metaphysical Painting," depicting simple objects of different geometrical shapes with few details, a limited palette and an emphasis on the key volumes. He includes a mannequin, icon of the Metaphysical aesthetic, as a metaphysical expression of the idea that it is objects that control human beings and that the secret of their power is not governed by logic and cannot be revealed.
Now that I'm aware of Morandi's basic vision, I plan do some further poking about to see exactly what he had in mind.