The years between the wars were unmoored, unbalanced, often manic. The horrors of the Great War were too tragic to resolve, and the possibility of another war too hard to conceive of. In Italy, in the midst of the wreckage, a new artistic movement began to take shape. It saw reality imbued with magic, fantasy, a style that was later termed magic realism. Its pioneers—Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico, and Carlo Carrà—painted everyday scenes that collided with uncertainty. De Chirico’s empty plazas were haunting and mysterious; the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire called them “metaphysical painting.” Casorati depicted dreamers in vibrant hues, and Carrà moved between ethereal figuration and Cubist vigor. In Milan’s first exhibition on magic realism in 30 years, the works of interwar masters are on view. —E.C.
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