The Italian Almanac

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Rene' Magritte at work

Italian News / Art - March 24

Suburban houses, flowers, birds, fruit, languid ladies and starchy bowler-hatted men float from Brussels to Lake Como this Saturday in Italy's largest-ever show on Surrealist great Rene' Magritte. Villa Olmo will also host its fair share of the leaden skies that prompted fellow Surrealist Max Ernst to coin the phrase, "it's Magritte weather today". The exhibition of 60 oil paintings and 20 sketches includes such pearls of the Magritte collection at Belgium's Musee des Beaux Arts as The Empire of Light, Good Faith and the Ignorant Fairy.

The show starts with the semi-Cubist Stableboy of 1925 and continues through 1928's Figure Brooding on Madness to a famous series of figures with their heads wrapped in sheets - the artist's long catharsis of the memory of finding his mother drowned in 1912, her nightdress pulled over her head. Other major works on show until July 16 include Midnight Marriage, the Vestal's Agony, the Secret Player, Treasure Island and the Taste of Tears, one of a string of paintings in which leaves become birds.

A final collection of photos shows friends with masks or other faces, highlighting Magritte's characteristic attempt to capture the disquiet that lies between the visible and the invisible.