Fausto Melotti (b. 1901, Rovereto, Italy; d. 1986, Milan, Italy) was an Italian painter and sculptor who is known for his slender brass sculptures and small ceramics. Melotti's early education in Florence introduced him to the art of the Renaissance which would have a profound influence throughout his life. In the interwar years, Melotti became a leading member of the group of Milanese abstract artists which included his lifelong friend Lucio Fontana. Inspired by his engineering and music studies, Melotti's abstract sculptures had an immaterial, rhythmic and intellectual effect on its viewers; a mixture of nature, geometry and music delicately expressed in brass or plaster. After witnessing the destruction of the Second World War, Melotti felt it necessary to introduce the human figure into his work. The small ceramic stage sets, or 'teatrini', produced at this time were more narrative and theatrical than his earlier work; their fatalistic melancholy would endure in his creations. Like the city squares of de Chirico's 'metaphysical paintings', Melotti's little theatres urge the viewer to bring to life narrative fragments into a coherent performance. By the late 1960's Melotti's transformation of commonplace materials such as plaster and painted fabric linked him to the Arte Povera generation of artists.
Melotti was educated in Florence and went on to complete a degree in electronic engineering in Milan. In 1928 Melotti studied sculpture at Brera Academy, Milan, where he met Lucio Fontana. Melotti's first exhibition was held at the Galleria del Milione, Milan, in 1935. In 1951 Melotti was awarded the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennale. Solo exhibitions were held at the Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund (1971), the Marlborough Gallery, Zurich (1973), the Palazzo Reale, Milan (1979) and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome (1983). After his death in 1986 his work was exhibited worldwide, including the Kodama Gallery, Osaka (1990) and Paolo Baldacci Gallery, New York (1994). Most recently the Museum of Contemporary Art at Grand Hornu, Belgium, organised a major retrospective (2004). In 2013, the exhibition Klee-Melotti was held at the Museo d'Arte Lugano. Shortly after his death in 1986, Melotti was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale.