Renato Mertens was born in Tarcento (Udine)He studies in Friuli and Venice, where he completed his studies at the liceo classico. He frequented the faculty of Law in Padua. He was active in the artistic environments living his first experiences in the studios of Venetians and painters and sculptors from Friuli. He resides in Florence from the 60's except for a brief interval in Rome in '68/'70 where he produced his first works on canvas and planks with burns and plastic. The first subjects Donne in Renato Martens (at the beginning of the ’70) are experiments made on different materials some years before; looking like reduced figures with plain contours, often anonymous and with no identity, they look towards the author aggressively and he returns the look offering back mystery, they propose themselves as presences, concrete though evasive appearance in their origin and finality.
From ’82 to ’86 he slowly and progressively abandons figuration. The author uses techniques that he developed and experimented in more than 30 years using to the maximum the conciseness of mixed techniques, salvage collage materials-letters, cut-outs on different surfaces, wood, faesite, cardboard, canvas (cloth). Mertens has faced more than once the relation between painting–poetry that develops as in chess when one plays the same game on two colours (T. Maniacco)
From the ’90 comparisons between Dante, Marinetti, Ungaretti, Pasolini and Bartolini have flourished.
The art of Renato Mertens has been placed into an historical example, Venetian culture; however it remains a personal meeting ground of several experiences; some precious touches as in the beginning of the XX century to the ‘harsh’ expressionism; from the ‘salvage’ dear to some historical examples, and from the practice that becomes theory of a continuous change that has become ‘style’. These are all experiences salvaged and worked into an independent personality. (F. Napoli)