Italian rags

Michelangelo Pistoletto2007

Magazzino Italian Art

Magazzino Italian Art
Cold Spring, United States

In 2007, not long before the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy as a nation state (1861), Michelangelo Pistoletto created Stracci italiani, a reinterpretation of the tricolor Italian flag made of discarded fabric.
Pistoletto’s rag works date back to the very first years of Arte Povera. His most famous piece from that period is Venere degli stracci (Venus of the Rags, 1967): a work in which a copy of a classical Greek statue (itself known only by Roman copies), Aphrodite of Knidos (4th century BCE) by Praxiteles, is positioned such that the figure faces a heap of discarded rags. While Pistoletto originally repurposed rags he used to polish his stainless steel mirror paintings, over the course of his career his use of rags has taken on larger ideological significance as a critique of capitalist society, becoming emblematic of throw-away culture.


  • Title: Italian rags
  • Creator: Michelangelo Pistoletto
  • Creator Lifespan: b. 1933
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Date Created: 2007
  • Physical Dimensions: h 149.9, w 252.1, d 20.3 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
  • Medium: Cloth rags mounted on board

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps