Historical Context of Italy
Italy has been vastly lush in cultural influence since the time of the Romans, this classical period has exerted a fascinating influence on the cultural development and distinctiveness of the country. Italy also embodies the realm of the Renaissance, called 'Rinascita' in Italian, signifying 'rebirth'. The Renaissance has been considered, from the early 1400s, as the first major blossoming of cultural sophistication in art, architecture, music, poetry, philosophy and politics since the Middle Ages. Throughout the modern and contemporary period, Italy was afflicted by the fascism of Mussolini but has nevertheless remained as an important focal point for artistic expression, spawning movements such as Futurism, Arte Povera and the Minimalism related to the Zero Movement, as well as the expressive painting of the Transavanguardia. Important Italian artists of the twentieth and twenty first centuries include Giorgio Di Chirico, Giacomo Balla, Giorgio Morandi, Alberto Giacometti, Lucio Fontana, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Francesco Clemente and Mimmo Paladino.