arte povera

ar·​te po·​ve·​ra | \ ˈär-tā-pō-ˈver-ə How to pronounce arte povera (audio) \
variants: or Arte Povera

Definition of arte povera

: an art movement originating in Italy in the 1960s characterized by experimentation with simple, everyday materials (such as paper, rags, or twigs) and concerned with challenging conventional elitism in the mainstream art tradition … the metaphysical yearnings of the Surrealists and the material curiosity of Arte Povera.New York Times, 6 June 2008 also : art associated with this movement Some of the sculpture she produced showed the “getting back to essentials” that characterizes work known as Arte Povera. — Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune, 27 Oct. 1988 … an exhibition of over 140 works by young, relatively unknown European artists that will concentrate heavily on arte povera, conceptual art and all the other latest attempts to make news. New York Magazine, 11 Sept. 1972 Once again, this ageing master of arte povera is seeking to fashion some fragile poetry out of the meetings of inglorious factory substances. — Jannis Kounellis, Sunday Times (London), 2 May 2010

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of arte povera

1969, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arte povera

borrowed from Italian, literally, “impoverished art”

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arte povera

Time Traveler for arte povera

Time Traveler

The first known use of arte povera was in 1969

See more words from the same year

Statistics for arte povera

Cite this Entry

“Arte povera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Comments on arte povera

What made you want to look up arte povera? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!