Iconic Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni died at his Rome residence Monday evening, news reports from Rome said today.

He was 94 years old.

Born on September 29, 1912 in the town of Ferrara in the Eastern Emilia Romagna region, Antonioni was one of Italy's most influential directors.

The director of 1966's Blow Up, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar - and of Zabriskie Point, is considered a master of moods and reflections.

In his youth he obtained a degree in economics, wrote for a local newspaper and eventually moved to Rome in 1939 and began writing for a fascist magazine called Cinema. After a dispute, he quit and signed up to attend the Centro Sperimentale, Rome's film school.

His early work included a screenplay for Roberto Rossellini and a documentary on poor fisherman in the Po River delta, the latter of which was funded by Istituto Luce.

During the war, the film industry ground to a halt and he worked as a book translator. He returned to writing screenplays when commissioned by Luchino Visconti. In 1948 Antonioni took to the director's chair to work on a series of documentary shorts.

In 1950 his first feature Story OfA Love Affair (Cronaca di un amore) represented the first signs of his ability to think on his own and create his own genre. With that film, he turned on neo realism and hired professional actors and engaged in recounting personal relationships over social criticism. While that film was presented at Cannes, over the next decade, he would continue to make films to moderate reception.

It wasn't until 1960 with L'avventura - which examined the alienation of the bourgeois - that his talent brought him into the international spotlight. The film won the jury prize at Cannes that year and also launched actress Monica Vitti into stardom.

That film was followed by three others featuring Vitti: The Night (La Notte, 1961), Eclipse (L'eclisse, 1962), The Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso, 1964). All deal with themes of alienation of man in the modern world.

The 1970s brought Zabriskie Point - an epic story of late 1960s America. In 1975 he directed Jack Nicholson in thriller The Passenger, about a journalist researching a documentary in the Sahara.

Due to problems related to a stroke in 1985, his communication skills were extremely limited so that Antonioni's wife Enrica assisted him in his directorial missions from that time.

He shot two films in his 90s - including a 35-minute documentary entitled Michelangelo Eye to Eye, and his last project Eros was part of a triptych presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2004.

In 1995 he won the Academy Award for lifetime achievement.