Transavantgarde or Transavanguardia is the Italian version of Neo-expressionism, an art movement that swept through Italy and the rest of Western Europe in the late 1970s and 1980s. The term transavanguardia was coined by Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva,[1] originating in the "Aperto '80" at the Venice Biennale,[2][3] and literally means beyond the avant-garde.

This art movement responded to the explosion of conceptual art, which found many mediums of expression, by reviving painting and reintroducing emotion ― especially joy ― back into drawing, painting and sculpture.[4] Transavantgarde marked a return to figurative art, as well as mythic imagery, which was rediscovered during the height of the movement.[5] The artists revived figurative art and symbolism, which were less frequently used in movements after World War II like minimalism. The principal transavantgarde artists were Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, Mimmo Germanà, Nino Longobardi, Nicola De Maria and Mimmo Paladino.[6]

In 1982, works by Chia, Cucchi and Longobardi were included in the exhibition "Italian Art Now: An American Perspective" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.[7]


  1. ^ Chilvers, Ian (1999). A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. p. 620. Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  2. ^ Nieves, Marysol (2011). Taking Aim! The Business of Being An Artist Today. Fordham University Press. p. 236. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  3. ^ "The 1980s". La Biennale. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  4. ^ Derwent, Charles (12 September 1999). "Visual Art: Land of the Living Dead Mimmo Paladino South London Gallery, London". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  5. ^ Hawlitschka, Ursula (August 2000). "Enzo Cucchi and the Transavantgarde: Are We In An Abyss of Seeing?".
  6. ^ Chuen, Ooi Kok (1 November 2000). "Creating art from chaos". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  7. ^ Glueck, Grace (1982-04-02). "Art: At The Guggenheim, 7 Italian Shows in One". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-16.

Further reading