Italy has not played an important role in 20th century art, though it has produced a few great artists and contributed to minor movements.
- Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920). A sickly boy and only moderately successful in his short lifetime, Modigliani helped re-invent the portrait in painting and sculpture after he moved to Paris in 1906. Famed for his elongated, mysterious heads and rapidly painted nudes. Check them out at Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera and Rome's Galleria d'Arte Moderna.
- Futurism. Italian artists living in 1909 Paris made a spirited attempt to take the artistic initiative back into Italian hands, but the Futurist movement Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916; Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera and Palazzo Reale, Rome's Galleria d'Arte Moderna) came up with was largely Cubism with an element of movement added in (Duchamp-esque). Gino Severini (1883-1966; Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera and Palazzo Reale, Cortona's Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, Rome's Galleria d'Arte Moderna) contributed a sophisticated take on color which rubbed of on the core Cubists as well.
- Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978). Founder of freaky "Metaphysical Painting," a forerunner of Surrealism wherein figures and objects are stripped of their usual meaning though odd juxtapositions, warped perspective and reality, unnatural shadows, and other bizarre effects and a general spatial emptiness. Look for them at Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera and Palazzo Reale and Parco Sempione behind the Castello Sforzesco, and Rome's Galleria d'Arte Moderna and Vatican Gallery of Modern Religious Art.
- Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964). Influenced by metafisica in his eerily minimalist, highly modeled, quasi-monochrome still-lifes. His paintings decorate Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera and Palazzo Reale, Bologna's Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Turin's Galleria d'Arte Moderna, and Rome's Galleria d'Arte Moderna and Vatican Gallery of Modern Religious Art.