Marino Marini (Italian, February 27, 1901–August 6, 1980) was a graphic artist, painter, and sculptor. Marini started as a painter and studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. A few years after finishing school, he began to focus on sculpting. Martini considered the sculptor and teacher Arturo Martini (Italian, 1889–1947) to be one of his early influences. When the elder Martini gave up his position as an art professor at the Scuola d'Arte di Villa Reale in Monza, the artist took over the position. He worked at the school from 1929 to 1940.

Martini gained inspiration and critiques of his work from some of the top artists working in Paris at the time, including Alberto Magnelli (Italian, 1888–1971), Giorgio de Chirico (Italian, 1888–1978), and Massimo Campigli (Italian, 1895–1971). He enjoyed traveling, and frequently visited Switzerland and France. He married Mercedes Pedrazzini in 1938, and, a few years later, he began working as a professor at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. The artist lived in Milan and Switzerland for several years, but he eventually considered Milan to be his home.

Marini often exhibited his work in Italy and Switzerland, but he had his first show in the United States in 1944 when the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a show devoted to Modern Italian Art. The Buchholz Galley in New York also displayed his work. The artist traveled to New York, and to London for a showing of his work at the Hanover Galley. This gave him the chance to meet some of the top sculptors and painters from the era, including Henry Moore (English, 1898–1986). He also attended showings of his work at the Palazzo Venzia in Rome and the Kunsthaus Zürich in Zurich. The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Galleria d''Arte Moderna in Milan, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., also showed his work. The Marino Marini Museum in Florence has more than 100 of his works on permanent display. One of his most famous pieces is the sculpture Cavaliere, which earned more than US$7 million at auction in 2010. His other works include Cavallo, The Three Graces, and L'Idea del cavaliere. Marini died in 1980 in Viareggio, Italy.


Born in Pistoia, Italy. (February 27)
Accademia di Belle Arti. Florence, Italy
Prize of the Quadriennale of Rome. Italy
Grand Prize for Sculpture at teh Venice Biennale
Feltrinelli Prize at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome
Died in Viareggio, Italy (August 6)
Born in 1901 in Pistoia, Marini was trained as a painter in the great Renaissance art center of Florence at the Academia di Belle Arti. He drew small subjects from life, such as flowers, birds and insects, and he also sculpted. Marini worked intensively, experimenting with different materials, from terracotta to wood and plaster combined with paint, which he also sometimes used with bronze in order to accentuate forms and express movement.

In 1928 he traveled to Paris where he made his début as a sculptor, studied with Picasso and other leading modern artists. He also was a close associate of Henry Moore. Marini later returned to Italy, settling in Milan and teaching in nearby Monza. During this period Marini exhibited at La Mostra del Novecento Toscano at the Galleria Milano in Milan.

Marini was strongly influenced by the suffering he witnessed in Italy during the war. In 1950, at about the time he was gaining worldwide prominence, he described his work, as part of a "new renaissance of sculpture in Italy, the new humanist, the new reality."

Marini's work has an elemental simplicity and has almost been limited, apart from his few portrait heads, to three themes: the female figure, the rider and horse and dancers and jugglers. All of these themes are symbolic, imbued with meaning and significance drawn from his own mythology. His typical female figure, the Pomona, Roman goddess of fruit trees and hence a symbol of fertility, is archetypal of the Mother Goddess. The rider and horse is a symbol equally universal and is often interpreted as man riding and controlling his instincts, the horse being the symbol of the animal component in man, often specifically, the erotic instincts. The third corner of Marini's personal mythical thematic triangle, the dancers and jugglers, are an extension of the overall optimism which breaks through in his sometimes cloudy vision. They display a vibrancy, an attempt to escape from the restraints and impositions of weight and space.

Marini gained international renown in the 1950s with three major exhibitions of his work in Amsterdam, Brussels, and New York where his "Great Horse" is displayed in the Rockefeller Collection. His best-known work is the large bronze horse and rider commissioned for the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy. Marini's working life covered more than 60 years of prodigious and prolific activity. He has had exhibitions in almost every major city in the world and prizes, medals and awards were constantly accorded him. Though Marini died in 1980, his works - sculpture, painting and graphics - live on, a continuing testament to a "Master" artist.


National Museum of Modern Art. Tokyo, Japan
Galleria d'Arte Moderna. Milan, Italy
Retrospective. Palazzo Venezia in Rome
Toninelli Arte Moderna. Milan, Italy
Retrospective. Kunsthaus Zurich
Kestner-Gesellschaft. Hannover. Travelled to: Kunstverein. Hamburg. and the Haus der Kunst of Munich.
Cuchholz Gallery. New York, NY
Hanover Gallery. London
"Twentieth-Century Italian Art" MoMA. New York, NY