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Marino Marini

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Marino Marini
Modern/Contemporary Sculptor, painter, printmaker
Italian, (1901–1980)
Italian painter and sculptor, born 1901 in Pistoia. He studied painting and sculpture at the Academy of Art in Florence under the naturalistic artist Trentacosta. From 1928 to 1929 he was in Paris, and from 1929 to 1940 taught at the School of Art at the Villa Reale in Monza. In 1935 he won a Grand Prix for sculpture, and in 1940 was made Professor of Sculpture at the Brera in Milan. He was often in France, especially Paris, and also visited the USA, Germany and most other European countries. From 1942 to 1946 he lived in Switzerland. In 1952 he won the Prize for Sculpture at the Biennale in Venice, in 1954 the Grand Prix for Sculpture at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, and in 1963 the Prize for Sculpture awarded by the city of Milan. He now lives and works in Milan and Forte dei Marini. He has been represented in all major exhibitions from 1923, and has had numerous one-man shows in Europe and the USA from 1932 onwards.

Marini is one of those rare artists with a genuine gift for both painting and sculpture. After an initial period, in which he concentrated primarily on painting and graphic art, he turned to sculpture in 1930, and for nearly twenty years worked almost exclusively in this medium. Marini's early paintings were influenced both by the Tuscan environment in which he had grown up and by Renaissance and Antique models. When he came to produce his sculptures, these influences continued to make themselves felt, but were further reinforced by the Impressionist techniques. evolved by Medardo Rosso, A. Rodin and A. Renoir, and by the powerful Neo-Classical structures introduced by A. Maillol and A. Martini. The subject matter of Marini's sculpture is relatively restricted, In the early 1930s he depicted individual human figures, choosing representative and highly expressive types. Such were his mythological women: matriarchal figures with broad hips, firm breasts and powerful limbs. Such too were his fairground tumblers and boxers with their hard, bony bodies. During this period Marini also produced a large number of portraits of his contem . poraries- gaunt creatures with sharp, watchful eyes, hollow cheeks, taut coarse skin and bare hunched backs. Then, in 1935, Marini discovered the age-old theme of the horse and rider, which he was to make so peculiarly his own. In the first works of this. kind the horse and rider are represented as distinct creatures. Each exists independently of the other, and is composed of clearly discernible articulating limbs. Later they were completely fused, and the rider seemed like a rigid column set astride the tense elongated body of the horse, like a power pack mounted on the solid andearthbound pyramid formed by the animal. The growing intensity of this theme was accompanied by greater formal precision. Thus, the loose organization, of the Waiting Rider of 1937 was followed in 195.3 by the inexorable tension of the Falling Horse and Rider, in which elements of time, space and movement are combined in a completely integrated composition, and th relationship between static and dynamic forces is made manifest in the sculptural form. Between 1953 intensity of this motif reached its peak, the fleeting moment of the fall was expressed by tetrahedral structures with acute-angled directional axes.

Marini is essentially a modeller. True, he attaches great importance to a clear architectural structure. But having created it, he then goes to infinite pains to obtain a perfect finish. He works with a chisel on his bronze casts, opening up the surface to produce the correct epidermal texture. He also applies acids in certain places, thus creating a chemical reaction which colours the affected parts. Blemishes and joints produced during the casting introduce an element of chance. The colouring is added in the course of the sculpting or modelling process; consequently, it forms an integral part of the finished work, thus ensuring optimum functional efficacy.

As a painter Marini also portrayed metaphorical figures as individual and isolated motifs. After his middle period, in which he concentrated on sculpture, he began to paint again in 1948-9. Many of his pictures are near-abstracts in the formal sense, and although they allow spatial movement in the Cubist manner, this is really no more than a modulation of the picture surface. In addition to sculptures and paintings, Marini has also produced a large body of drawings and graphic works.

Pietro Maria Bardi. Marino Marini. Graphic Work and Paintings, London and New York 1960.
Eduard Trier. The Sculpture of Marino Marini, London and New York 1961.

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