Poor art


The Poor art is considered one of the main movements of vanguard that had an important influence in Europe in the late 60s was a kind of art that regarded as common materials used before was developed was industry , of In such a way that their representatives used raw materials such as rocks, earth, paper and rope. It was an artistic style that came to mark the opposition to abstract painting that dominated the time.


What is Poor Art?

Also known as poor art , this contemporary movement was a type of avant-garde artistic current that was based on the use of “worthless” materials for the elaboration of its works of art, giving more value to the primary structures trying to give them more poetic value.


What does it consist of

This type of artistic movement consists of the use of materials beyond the traditional ones that are generally used to create different works of art, but we are not talking about expensive or innovative materials, but on the contrary, it uses natural materials , very low cost and that in fact can be obtained in nature, for example branches, straw, sand, dry leaves, pieces of metal, stones, pieces of cloth, sand and others more.


It consisted of a type of art that sought a way to challenge traditional art and change the values ​​of the galleries that sold works during contemporary times.

Characteristics of arte povera

Among its main characteristics, the following aspects stand out:

  • It was a type of art that based all its aesthetics on the possible relationships that existed between objects and their configuration .
  • Above all, he valued the different manufacturing and handling processes of the materials used and also the materials themselves.
  • He valued materials in their natural state .
  • The artists who practiced it were against the use of some materials such as stainless steel .
  • He did not follow the exact guidelines of minimalist art .
  • Its representatives were also against consumerism and gave greater importance to nature.
  • It was considered a type of criticism of modern civilization .
  • Although its duration was quite short, it had an importance in Europe during the postwar period.
  • His main goal was to establish the importance that existed between the human being and the things that surround him, as well as to recognize the importance of the elements of nature and artistic work .


The origin of arte povera has its roots in Italy , during the year 1960 . Many experts and historians agree that the movement originated in the postwar period, after the industry entered the area. In fact, during these years different types of art movements began to be observed against minimalism and abstract expressionism .


In 1967 , Germano Celant who was an important artist of Italian origin, proposed the name of poor art and also organized different exhibitions of the movement and it was practiced mainly by young artists. This type of art had its main moment during the different political protests that occurred during these years as the movement sought to reflect the feelings that existed against the capitalists of the time.

It was a type of art that did not really have a leader in common, but all the artists who participated in it sought the same goal, to end the border that had been imposed between life and the artistic field . By 1969, the movement had spread to other parts of the world and, despite the fact that a few years later it ceased to be used in many places, its principles can still be found in some modern artists.

Arte povera in painting

Arte Povera within the branch of painting had its origins after the Second World War , between the 40s and 50s. According to experts, it was born in France and its main characteristic is that it uses materials different from those used in painting such as they are sand, wood, glass and sawdust. Painters use different types of colors and in their works you can see areas with materials and others without them.

Arte povera in architecture

This type of art in the field of architecture mainly seeks to build comfortable spaces using a series of simple materials following the concept of arte povera. The architects who follow this trend, propose the use of some materials that for many would be impossible to use, such as waste materials or those that can be recycled . In architecture, the implementation of spacious, comfortable spaces full of natural light is also sought in order to achieve a neutral space with greater versatility .


The materials that artists use to represent their works with this style of art are based on ” poor materials “, by this we mean, raw material that can even be obtained from nature itself. Some of the most used materials are stone, glass, dry leaves of trees, still life, straw, hay, pieces of wood and recycled materials among others.

Importance of arte povera

The main importance of arte povera was the message it sought to convey, the relationship it established between the senses and the use of completely natural materials for the elaboration of the works, establishing a union between the primary and the essential . His attempt to unite the mental or conceptual with the sensual gave a greater sense to the artistic style of the movement.

Artists (edit)

Among the main representatives of the movement we can mention:

  • Giuseppe Penone who explores the relationship that exists between and the human being and nature working with natural biological processes such as growth and wilting.
  • Jan Cunellis who used materials such as coal, plants and animals.
  • Michelangelo Pistoletto considered one of the founders of this type of art.
  • Mario Merz a sculptor and painter from Italy who even used televisions and umbrellas to make his works.
  • Marisa Merz who is the only woman who dedicated herself to practicing this type of art.
  • Giulio Paolini , a painter, sculptor, and graphic designer.


Among the main works of Arte Povera we find:

  • Giap Igloo by Mario Merz
  • Venus of Rags by Michelangelo Pistoletto
  • Senza Titolo by Giovanni Anselmo
  • 12 horses by Janis Kounellis

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