(Alessandria, 1853 – Milan, 1919)
Born in Alessandria from “wealthy (but honest) parents”, in 1867 he moved to Milan to attend Brera Academy of Fine Arts. After getting in touch with the Milanese cultural milieu, he exhibited for the first time at the annual Braidense exhibition of 1874. Interested in subjects of daily life – scenes of popular and peasant life, of the work in the rice fields – he combined social attention to the truth with pictorial researches epitomizing the reflection on the subject and on the use of colour techniques. In 1883 the painting Giorni… ultimi!, was amongst the first examples dedicated to the representation of the guests of the Milanese charity institution Pio Albergo Trivulzio.
At the beginning of the Eighties he realized the first works made with the technique of Divisionism, in which, according to the rule of complementary colours, pure colours are brought together on the canvas with small regular brushstrokes. He would dedicate himself with passion to the continuous improvement of the technique, deepening his observations taken from reality with the study of optical, chemical and physical treatises.
He participated in Italian and international exhibitions, obtaining mentions and awards.
Starting from the 1910s, the landscape painting, a genre that had always been present in Morbelli’s production, became an even more significant component. Minute colour strokes enliven lake, sea and mountain landscapes, depicted in various light conditions, to investigate the relationship between light and shadow and give atmospheric depth to the transparency of the air.
Notes and remarks on the vibration of light and chromatic brilliance are collected in his diaries, entitled La Via Crucis del Divisionismo, dated December 1912.
He died in Milan on 7 November 1919.