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museo di arte moderna
e contemporanea
di trento e rovereto

  • Felice Casorati, "Gli scolari" (dettaglio), 1927 - 1928, Galleria d’Arte Moderna “Empedocle Restivo”, Palermo
  • Ubaldo Oppi, "Ritratto della moglie sullo sfondo di Venezia" (dettaglio), 1921, Collezione privata, Roma
  • Antonio Donghi, "Strumenti musicali" (dettaglio), 1935, Collezione privata. Courtesy ED Gallery, Piacenza
  • Carlo Sbisą, "Magia" (dettaglio), 1928, Collezione privata

Magic Realism
Enchantment in Italian Painting
in the 1920s and 1930s

Mart Rovereto
03 December 2017 / 02 April 2018
"Realistic accuracy of the outlines, the solidity of material resting firmly on the ground; and all around an atmosphere of magic that allows one to sense, through an intense apprehension, almost another dimension within which our life is projected…"
Massimo Bontempelli
After "Umberto Boccioni" and "An Eternal Beauty", the season of great exhibitions dedicated to early twentieth century Italian art continues at Mart, Rovereto.

onstituting the first stage of the exhibition, that in 2018 will be at the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki and at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Mart’s great winter season exhibition will review the features of Magic Realism in Italy through a selection of painterly works of art from important public and private collections.
Coined by critic Franz Roh in a famous essay dedicated to contemporary art (1925), the definition Magic Realism describes an international artistic season that reached its heights of creativity and originality between the twenties and thirties of the last century. This in a period that followed on from that of the historic avante-gardes, featuring a return to the pictorial and sculptural tradition.
The objective representation emphasised by the term “realism” is accompanied, in this expression, by an adjective that evokes the suspended and surreal atmospheres that are a strong feature of the movement. Reality is in fact the point of departure for a transfiguration that goes by way of the imagination and marvellous wonderment, implemented by a group of artists featuring Cagnaccio di San Pietro, Felice Casorati, Antonio Donghi, Achille Funi, Carlo Levi and Ubaldo Oppi.
Alongside the better-known painters, the exhibition also comprises artists active locally on the Venetian, Trieste, Turin and Roman art scene, confirming the transversality of subjects and styles that combined in Italian painting in those decades. These include Mario and Edita Broglio, Leonor Fini, Arturo Nathan, Carlo Sbisà, Gregorio Sciltian, Carlo Socrate and Cesare Sofianopulo.
The layout of the exhibition, that examines the complexity of the sources of inspiration and its different declinations on the Italian scene, throws light on the interpretative new features that Magic Realism fields in regard to given genres from the pictorial tradition. This is in fact the first project to be realised after the important anthological exhibition curated by Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco, held between 1988 and 1989 at the Galleria dello Scudo, Verona.
The exhibition has been organized in cooperation with 24 ORE Cultura.


Curated by Gabriella Belli and Valerio Terraroli

Press release

Press release