The leading figures within the movement are the five artists, Nicola de Maria, Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Mimmo Paladino and Enzo Cucchi. Each a prominent post-war artist in their own right, they dominated the movement’s main activities during this period. At the Venice Biennale in 1980, the artists exhibited together marking an official departure, dominated by strong individual narratives, expressive in colour, dramatic in scenery. Within each individual artistic practice, various leitmotifs dominate the painter’s oeuvre. The influence of Futurism, for example, is mainly present in the works of Sandro Chia. Whereas an artist such as Enzo Cucchi employs a wide range of material including ceramics, neon, wood and steel. Nicola De Maria’s paintings are incredibly characteristic for their child-like nature, vibrant in colour scheme and naive in composition. One of its most prominent representatives, Mimmo Paladino, bridges the thin demarcation between sculpture and painting. His totemistic canvasses often include sculptural elements.
While the main driving force behind the Transavanguardia was the constant referral to art history, the movement’s legacy remains acclaimed as extremely progressive. The work of artists such as Francesco Clemente became fundamental to the development of Neo- Expressionism, which further influenced the practice of artists such as Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat or David Salle. Outside of the US and Italy, this specific style inspired other avant-garde collectives and movements such as the “Neue Wilde” in Germany, Berlin.