Sculpture Igloo di pietra (1982) by Mario Merz in KMM sculpturepark/The Netherlands.

What Is Arte Povera

Regia Marinho
3 min readSep 6, 2021


It’s poor art. Not exactly…

“Arte povera was a radical Italian art movement from the late 1960s to 1970s whose artists explored a range of unconventional processes and non-traditional ‘everyday’ materials.” ~Jannis Kounellis.

This artwork is a fashion inspiration…

Untitled, Jannis Kounellis, 1968. Installation.

Arte Povera means literally ‘poor art’ but the word poor here is related to uses of other materials other than those you buy from an art store.

It’s the art movement that uses materials different from the traditional ones of oil paint on canvas, acrylics, bronze, or carved marble…

Materials used by the artists included rags, soil, twigs, and other nontraditional art materials.

The artists were challenging and disrupt the values of the commercialized contemporary gallery system of the time mostly in Italy.

The term was introduced by the Italian art critic and curator, Germano Celant, in 1967. He died in 2020 at the age of 80 from covid 19.

When he said Arte Povera…he wasn’t really talking about a lack of money, but about making art without the traditional materials and practices.

Celant focused on Italian artists' new tendency toward using organic, “low” materials in their work.

Italy was seized by economic instability once more.

And Arte Povera began and emerged from within a network of urban cultural activity in these cities Turin, Milan, Genoa, and Rome.

Leading artists were Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Giovanni Anselmo, Luciano Fabro, Piero Gilardi, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jannis Kounellis, Emilio Prini, Gilberto Zorio...

They worked in many different ways, creating works of large size as well as small-scale pieces.

They created paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, and made performances and installations.

If I was in Italy at the time of this art movement I think I was using photos, magazines pages, drawings, and…



Regia Marinho

I write about ideas, technology, the future and inspire the world through art. Artist. Civil engineer.