Jannis Kounellis (1936 Piraeus, Greece – 2017 Rome, Italy) was a founding father of the Arte Povera movement. After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens, he embarked on a one-way trip to Italy in 1956, settling in Rome. There, he studied under Toti Scialoja at the Academy of Fine Arts, whose scenographic approach to the artist-as-performing actor was fundamental to his early development. Kounellis created an entirely new aesthetic lexicon based on the use of humble materials combined with European and Mediterranean spiritual and cultural references. Plants, coffee beans, coal, tar, animals, wood, steel, fire, coats, burlap sacks and furniture translated into visual poetry that was imbued with the zeitgeist of the 1960s, making him one of the most significant artists of his time.