ROME, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Italian President Giorgio Napolitano led Italy Tuesday in mourning directing legend Michelangelo Antonioni, who died on Monday evening at the age of 94, according to ANSA news agency.
Napolitano said "our country has lost one of the greatest figures of 20th-century cinema and expressive experimentation."
"Antonioni elaborated a biting critique of indifference and alienation, showing great depth of sensitivity and stimulating reflection on the drama of solitude," the president added.
Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, who has a passion for film, said that "we have lost not only one of the greatest living directors but also a master of modern cinema."
Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said that "Antonioni was a pioneer ... who explored challenging themes such as incommunicability and alienation. His death ends a historic period of Italian cinema."
Antonioni was born in 1912 in the northern Italian city of Ferrara. He directed his first feature, "Cronaca di un amore" ("Story of a Love Affair"), in 1950 at the age of 38.
With films like L'Avventura (The Adventure) and Blowup, Antonioni invented a unique cinematic language that defied plot-driven narrative and dialogue, inspiring generations of directors the world over.
Admirers of Antonioni will be able to pay their respects to the director on Wednesday morning, when his body will lie in state at Rome's city hall.
His funeral will be held on Thursday in his home town of Ferrara in northeast Italy, ANSA said.