Felice Casorati, Dreaming of Pomegranates, 1913
Felice Casorati (1883-1963) was born in Novara and showed an early interest in music and art. To please his parents he studied law at the University of Padua until 1906, but his ambition was to be a painter, an ambition confirmed in 1907 when a painting of his was shown in the Venice Biennale. The works he produced in the early years of his career were naturalistic in style. After 1910 the influence of the symbolists and particularly of Gustav Klimt (who also influenced Ubaldo Oppi) turned him toward a more visionary approach.
Felice Casorati, Meriggio, 1923
In 1919, following his military service in World War I Casorati settled in Turin, intrigued by the decadent atmosphere of Turin with its sinister views. His works of the next decade typify, in their emphasis on geometry and formal clarity, the "return to order" then prevalent in the arts as a reaction to the war. Often working in tempera, Casorati drew inspiration from his study of Renaissance masters, especially Piero della Francesca, as in his 1922 portrait entitled Silvana Cenni:
Felice Casorati, Portrait of Silvana Cenni, 1922
This symmetrical composition of a seated woman in a white dress is perhaps the best-known of the artist's works. In it, the careful rendering of volumes results paradoxically in a sense of unreality; this is characteristic of Casorati's art and it connects him to the metaphysical painters.
Felice Casorati, Beethoven, 1928
Briefly arrested in 1923 for his involvement with an anti-Fascist group, Casorati subsequently avoided opposing Mussolini's regime. After 1930 the severity of Casorati's earlier style softened somewhat and his palette brightened. He continued to exhibit widely, winning many awards, including the First Prize at the Venice Biennale of 1938. He was also involved in stage design. Felice Casorati died in Turin in 1963.
Felice Casorati, La donna e l'armatura, 1921
Most of Casorati's important works are in Italian collections, public and private, including the Modern Art Revoltella Museum in Trieste and Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna. You can see more of his works here in my Flickr set.