Top 18 Arte Povera artists who changed its history

The Italian art movement known as Arte Povera, or “poor art,” first appeared in the late 1960s. The movement aspired to produce art using straightforward, commonplace materials as a reaction to the consumerism and materialism of the time.

Rocks, twigs, and other waste items were frequently employed by Arte Povera artists to make their masterpieces.  They wanted to make art that was both beautiful and meaningful, and they were curious about the connection between art and the natural world.

1. Mario Merz

Arte Povera artists

Born: 1 January 1925, Milan, Italy

Died: 9 November 2003, Milan, Italy

Periods: Contemporary art, Arte Povera, Modern art

Spouse: Marisa Merz (m. 1960)

Education: University of Turin

Partner: Marisa Merz

  • Mario Merz was an Italian artist and husband of Marisa Merz.
  • He was acquainted with Marisa Merz in the course of his studies during his studies in Turin during the 50s. They were both involved in the growth of the art movement Arte Povera and have been both affected by one of their respective works.
  • Many of his works were embellished with numbers or words written in neon.
  • He examined the connection between the subject and nature.
  • Born in Milan, Merz started drawing during World War II.
  • He passed away in Milan in 2003.


2. Michelangelo Pistoletto

Arte Povera artists

Born: 25 June 1933 (age 89 years), Biella, Italy

Spouse: Marzia Calleri (m. 1955)

Parents: Ettore Olivero Pistoletto, Livia Fila

  • Michelangelo Pistoletto is an Italian painter, motion or object artist as well as art theorist.
  • His work primarily focuses on the theme of reflection and the unification of life and art as a Gesamtkunstwerk.
  • The 1950s were when he began creating self-portraits and figurative work.
  • In the end, he changed to printing photorealistic pictures on steel plates, polished to a high gloss.
  • The year 1994 was the time that Michelangelo Pistoletto proclaimed his program Progetto Arte. Its goal was the artistic and social integration of the economic aspects of human existence.


3. Jannis Kounellis

Arte Povera artists

Born: 23 March 1936, Pireas, Greece

Died: 16 February 2017, Villa Mafalda, Rome, Italy

Awards: Oskar Kokoschka Award

  • Jannis Kounellis was a Greek Italian artist from Rome.
  • An important figure in the world of Arte Povera, he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arts in Rome.
  • The year 1967 was the time that Kounellis began to be associated with Arte Povera.
  • He repainted the canvas using doors, bed frames, windows, or his gallery.
  • His work has been added to a variety of internationally renowned museum collections.


4. Giuseppe Penone

Arte Povera artists

Born: 3 April 1947 (age 75 years), Garessio, Italy

Periods: Contemporary art, Conceptual art, Arte Povera

Award: Praemium Imperiale

Known for: Sculpture

  • Giuseppe Penone is an Italian artist and sculptor who is known for his huge-scale tree sculptures that are fascinated by the connection between man and nature.
  • He lives and works with his family in Turin, Italy.
  • Penone’s installations, sculptures, and drawings stand out due to his focus on process and his use of natural materials.
  • His work aims to integrate the natural world through his artistic work, bringing together art and nature.
  • In the month of December 1968, Penone was seen performing a number of shows in a wood close to his house.


5. Pino Pascali

Arte Povera artists

Born: 19 October 1935, Bari, Italy

Died: 11 September 1968, Rome, Italy

Education: Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma

  • Pino Pascali is an Italian artist as a sculptor, set designer, and performer.
  • Pino Pascali was born on 19 October 1935 in Bari, Italy.
  • The year 1955 was the time that Pascali was exiled from the school of science he attended in Bari and went to an elementary school that was specialized in art in Naples.
  • Prior to his graduation, Pascali completed his degree in 1959. He was a scenic assistant designer on a number of RAI productions.
  • In the early 1960s, Pascali displayed his sculptures in several art shows.


6. Germano Celant

Arte Povera artists

Born: 11 September 1940, Genoa, Italy

Died: 29 April 2020, San Raffaele Hospital

Period: Arte Povera

Spouse: Paris Murray

  • Germano Celant is an Italian art historian, critic, and curator.
  • Germano Celant was born in Genoa, Italy.
  • The idea behind Arte Povera seemed to be that in Italy, art was very different from America due to the differing conditions that were present at the time.
  • In the early 20th century, Italian artists were looking for a humanist approach to their work, not the sleekness and precision machines-generated images of pop artists.
  • Celant was engaged to another curator, Paris Murray.
  • In 1988 Celant was appointed the Chief Curator at Contemporary Art.


7. Alighiero Boetti

Arte Povera artists

Born: 16 December 1940, Turin, Italy

Died: 24 April 1994, Rome, Italy

Known for: Painting; Mixed media

Children: Agata Boetti, Matteo Boetti

Parents: Adelina Marchisio, Corrado Boetti

  • Alighiero Fabrizio Boetti, an Italian conceptual artist from Italy.
  • He was thought to be part of the movement of art called Arte Povera.
  • Alighiero Boetti was born in Turin.
  • At age seventeen, Boetti discovered the works of Wols.
  • Boetti was dissociated with his involvement in the Arte Povera Movement in 1972 and relocated to Rome.


8. Marisa Merz

Arte Povera artists

Born: 23 May 1926, Turin, Italy

Died: 19 July 2019, Turin, Italy

Period: Arte Povera

Spouse: Mario Merz (m. 1960)

Partner: Mario Merz

  • Marisa Merz was an Italian artist and sculptor.
  • The 1960s were a time when Merz became the female-only character associated with the revolutionary Arte povera movement.
  • Marisa Merz was born in Turin, Italy, in 1926.
  • Her work was able to continue to address several of the problems that Arte Povera artists are preoccupied with.
  • Her work was given an uninhibited, environmental style through a series of “rooms.”


9. Gilberto Zorio

Arte Povera artists

Born      1944, Andorno Micca, Italy

Nationality         Italian

Known for           Visual art

  • Gilberto Zorio is an Italian artist who is associated with his Italian Arte Povera movement.
  • His works, sculptures, and performances are frequently seen as metaphors for radical human actions.
  • As with many other artists of the expanding Arte Povera Movement, Zorio professed faith in and was a practitioner of alchemy.
  • Zorio’s Tenda is an art piece that is a play on physical laws as well as chance.


10. Luciano Fabro

Arte Povera artists

Born: 20 November 1936, Turin, Italy

Died: 22 June 2007, Milan, Italy

Artworks: Demetra (Demeter), Italy’s mirror, Imprint, La nascita de Venere, Prometeo, Il cielo di San Gennaro, Computer

  • Luciano Fabro was an Italian conceptual artist, sculptor, and writer who was part of his Arte Povera movement.
  • He was heavily influenced by artists like Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana.
  • He passed away on June 22nd, 2007, in Milan due to a heart attack.
  • He created a variety of pieces that dealt with steel tubes and their interaction with fundamental physical laws of nature.


11. Giulio Paolini

Arte Povera artists

Born      5 November 1940, Genoa, Italy

Known for           Sculpture, painting

Movement         Arte Povera, Conceptual Art

  • Giulio Paolini is an Italian artist who has been associated with Arte Povera and Conceptual Art.
  • Paolini was born in Genoa.
  • After spending his childhood in Bergamo, the family moved together with family members to Turin, which is where he lives in Turin to this day.
  • From 1967 to 1972 Between 1967 and 1972, an influential writer Germano Celant, a critic from the city of Rome, invited him to participate in Arte Povera exhibitions, which resulted in his name being linked with the movement.
  • The time of the most intense retrospectives and exhibitions, as well as important monographs being published during the 1980s.


12. Pier Paolo Calzolari

Arte Povera artists

Born: 21 November 1943 (age 78 years), Bologna, Italy

  • Pier Paolo Calzolari is an Italian artist who was linked to Arte Povera.
  • Calzolari spent the majority of his growing up during his time in Venice, Italy.
  • In 1965, he relocated in 1965 to Bologna, where he established his studio in Palazzo Bentivoglio.


13. Piero Gilardi

Arte Povera artists

Born: 3 August 1942 (age 80 years), Turin, Italy

Books: Piero Gilardi: the Little Manual of Expression with Foam Rubber

  • Piero Gilardi is a visual artist. He was born in Italy to a Swiss family.
  • He was recognized on the world scene and was witness to the influence that was Pop Art Europe.
  • His uncompromising support for closer ties between life and art has encouraged actions across the disciplines of psychiatry as well as Anthropology.
  • He was interested in making social connections through art.
  • Gilardi was involved in the development of spontaneous and collective creative thinking by working in various social settings.


14. Emilio Prini

Arte Povera artists

Born: 1943, Stresa, Italy

Died: 1 September 2016, Rome, Italy

  • Emilio Prini was an Italian artist who was part of his Arte Povera movement which began in the 1960s.
  • All of the exposed works were produced between 1966 and 2016 and provide an accurate view of his work in the field of photography writing, visual poetry, and audio text.
  • The Perimeter series that began in the year 1967. He placed neon light bulbs controlled by sound at corners and the center of an area.


15. Gianni Piacentino

Arte Povera artists

Born: 1945 (age 77 years), Coazze, Italy

  • Gianni Piacentino is an Iglesias Boy well-known for his paintings and sculptures inspired by cars, motorcycles, and planes.
  • Gianni Piacentino was born and raised in Italy in 1945.
  • In 1965, he enrolled in his first year at the University of Turin, where he did his philosophy studies until 1966.
  • He then returned to the sport as a driver and decorated racing sidecars in 2012.
  • Piacentino worked and lived for a time in New York City from 1980 until 1981.


16. lan Berry

Arte Povera artists

Born: 1984 (age 38 years), Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Movement: Arte Povera, Collage, Denim Art, Textile Art, Fiber Art

  • Ian Berry is a British-born artist living within Poplar, East London.
  • Berry began to explore art during her time at university and later while working at TMW as an art director.
  • The inspiration for his denim art was born out of a simple observation he made while visiting the home of his family in Huddersfield.
  • Berry has a home in London and captures the city he lives in through the changing urban lifestyle.
  • The 2016 show of Berry’s London solo show was a huge success.


17. Felipe Dulzaides

Arte Povera artists

Born      February 23, Havana

Known for           Contemporary art

Movement         Conceptual art, Land art, Neo realism, Arte povera, Performance art, Jazz

  • Felipe Dulzaides is a contemporary artist. His work includes installation photography, drawing, video, sculpture, and performances.
  • His father played a significant part in the growth of the jazz genre in Cuba.
  • After spending a few months between Italy and Spain After that, he relocated to Miami.
  • Havana is an urban area that is rich with diverse urban conditions.


18. John Davis

Born: 16 September 1936, Ballarat, Australia

Died: 17 October 1999, Melbourne,

Artworks: Evolution of a fish, Tree Piece, Two

Education: RMIT University Melbourne City

  • John Davis was an Australian artist, sculptor and pioneer in environmental art.
  • David Wilson joined his staff at the time and later was appointed Head after Davis was dismissed in 1982 and moved to his new job at the Victorian College of the Arts.
  • The work, which was impermanent, was left to weather and decay away.
  • It was a significant breakthrough that inspired a lot of sculptors to rethink the purpose of outdoor work.

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