3 italian artists you may not have heard of

We’ve all heard of the ‘great’ masters of Italian art…Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio. While these names, and many more, have certainly made their mark on art history, over the past few years I have stumbled upon a few Italian artists that may not be as well-known.


Georgio Griffa

Griffa is a member of the Arte Povera movement, a movement that began in the 1960’s and translates to “poor art”. This movement was a liberation of sorts for Italian artists who were interested in moving beyond tradition and incorporating materials other than oil paint or marble.When I first discovered Griffa, I was drawn to his playful use of colour and seemingly unfinished compositions. His paintings feel quite primitive, raw, and most importantly, honest.

Installation view of Giorgio Griffa: A Continuous Becoming, Camden Arts Centre, 2018. Photo: Mark Blower

Giorgio Griffa, Obliquo, 1979, Acrylic on canvas, 61 x 46.5” / 155 x 118cm, Photo: Jean Vong, Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York

Installation view of Giorgio Griffa: A Continuous Becoming, Camden Arts Centre, 2018. Photo: Mark Blower

Installation view of Giorgio Griffa: A Continuous Becoming, Camden Arts Centre, 2018. Photo: Mark Blower

When I read this interview with him I stumbled upon this analysis that resonated with me:

To anyone who knows his spare, if inadvertently lyrical paintings,

which have sometimes been compared to musical scores, this will come

as no surprise: these are works that find a visual form for rhythm –

for the rhythm of their own making – in their ostensibly simple

repeated marks, often applied to the canvas with a brush or sponge at

set intervals.

This interview makes me wonder how my own daily rhythms would visually manifest.

Giacomo Manzù

On a very hot July day in Rome I stumbled into Il Museo Ostiense. While there were a number of breathtaking sculptures and statues, my eyes were immediately drawn to a series of pencil sketches on the wall - a refreshing simplicity to the ornate works I had seen in grand churches. Although they were just pencil sketches, they possessed so much complexity and emotion. I rarely photography artwork, but I was so taken by how the light interacted with the space that I had to capture it. These drawings were made by Giacomo Manzù - an esteemed sculptor.

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Emilio Greco

Emilio Greco is also an artist that is mostly recognised for his sculptures but naturally has produced sketches throughout his career. I first discovered them in the Museo Emilio Greco in Orvieto. Upon leaving the museum I used my very broken Italian to purchase a book that he wrote, which compiled some of his line drawings and poems.

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Gianna ScavoComment