Marino Marini

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photo of Marino Marini, 1958

Marino Marini (27 February 1901 - 6 August 1980) was an Italian sculptor artist, famous for his many sculptures of 'Horse and Rider'.

Quotes of Marino Marini[edit]

sorted chronologically, after date of the quotes of Marino Marini
Marini, 1936: 'Rider', bronze sculpture
Marini, 1951-52: 'Miracolo / Miracle', bronze sculpture; - quote of Marini, 1958: 'I am no longer seeking, in my own equestrian figures, to celebrate the triumph of any victorious hero. On the contrary, I seek to commemorate in them something tragic – in fact, a kind of 'Twilight of Man'.'
photo of Marini, sculpting his statue 'Horse and Rider' in 1958
Marini, 1963: 'Pomone', sculpture, still in plaster; - quote of Marini: 'My 'Pomone' [he made many] live in a bright world, with their sunny disposition, full of humanity, of abundance, and of great sensuality.. ..femininity is enriched with.. ..unmovable stillness, of primitive and unconscious fertility '
Marini, 1963: 'The Cry', bronze sculpture
  • We must enter into the spirit of the character [for making a portrait]: here the challenge is to place this figure in the human space, to work out what he represents in relation to other people, other human personalities; when you've worked this out, you're done. this truth has to stand out in the end result of the portrait.. ..when this task is complete, and the subject is placed in the realm of the dead that go on living, I hand over my work.
    • As quoted by the Marini Marini Museum: [1]
  • There is an intimate relationship between my pictorial [2-dimensional] and my sculptural work. I would never begin on a sculpture without first gaining an idea of the colour.. .My mind is captivated by this task until I start to put down the colour on paper and imagine that this colour will become a drawing. And then, suddenly, the drawing begins to acquire shape, the shape, and this shape becomes the real shape.
    • as quoted in the exhibition text of 'Marino Marini, Painter, Draughtsman, Sculptor', Museum de Fundatie, September 2013 to 16 March 2014
  • My 'Pomone' live in a bright world, with their sunny disposition, full of humanity, of abundance, and of great sensuality. they represent a happy season that breaks the tragic time of war. in all these images, femininity is enriched with all its past meanings, those most inherent, most mysterious: a sort of unavoidable necessity, of unmovable stillness, of primitive and unconscious fertility. The figure, the statue, instead demands a wider research of shapes, of lines, of bodies. My women, that some find awkward, respond to this preoccupation. In the figure, I propose to myself to deepen the way I play with volume in a togetherness that is always more united, more steady, yet also free and nimble. But this research on volume is not the only premise of the sculptor, who need not ever forget what moves most in a sculpture is always its inspiration.
  • My equestrian statues express the torment caused by the events of this century. the restlessness of my horse increases with each new work, the rider is always more exhausted, he has lost his domination of the beast and the catastrophes to which he succumbs resemble those that destroyed sodom and pompeii. I aspire to make visible the last stage of destruction of a myth, of the myth of heroic and victorious individualism, the humanists' man of virtue. my work in the last years doesn't want to be heroic, but tragic.

'Interview with Edouard Roditi' (1958)[edit]

Quotes of Marini, from: 'Interview with Edouard Roditi' (1958), in Dialogues – conversations with European Artists at Mid-century, Edouard Roditi, Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd London, 1990
  • Equestrian statues have always served, through the centuries, a kind of epic purpose. They set out to exalt a triumphant hero, a conqueror like Marcus Aurelius.. .In the past fifty years, this ancient relation between man and beast has been entirely transformed. The horse has been replaced, in its economic and its military functions, by the machine, by the tractor, the automobile or the tank.
    • p. 86
  • The Romantic painters were already addicted to a cult of the horse as an aristocratic beast.. ..From Géricault and Constantin Guys [both Romantic French painters] to Degas and Dufy, this cult of the horse found its expression in a new attitude towards sport and military life.. .In Odilon Redon’s visionary renderings of horses and later in those of Picasso and Chirico, we then see the horse become part of the fauna of a world of dreams and myths.
    • p. 86
  • Until the end of the fascist era and of the war [World War 2.], I continued to hark back to the sober realism [in his human figure sculptures, then] of the artists of the Etruscan funerary figures, or the sculptors of some Roman portraits, especially the earlier ones. My own way of reacting against the imperialist pathos of official Fascist art continued, until 1944, to consist in identifying my art very consciously with my private life, so that I never allowed myself any form of expression that might seem too blatantly public.
    • p. 87
  • I am no longer seeking, in my own equestrian figures, to celebrate the triumph of any victorious hero. On the contrary, I seek to commemorate in them something tragic – in fact, a kind of 'Twilight of Man', a defeat rather than a victory. If you look back on all my equestrian figures of the past twelve years [between 1946 – 1958] you will notice that the rider is each time less in control of his mount, and that the latter is each time more wild in its terror, but frozen stiff, rather than reared or running away. All this is because I feel that we are on the eve of the end of a whole world.
    • p. 87
  • My equestrian figures are symbols of the anguish that I feel when I survey contemporary events. Little by little, my horses become more restless; their riders less and less able to control them. Man and beast are both overcome by a catastrophe similar to those that struck Sodom and Pompeii. So I am trying to illustrate the last stages of the disintegration of a myth, I mean the myth of the individual victorious hero, the 'uono di virtù' of the humanists..
    • pp. 87-88
  • But I am no longer trying to formulate a stylised version of anxiety such as we find in the Laocoon group and in so many other sculptures of the Silver Age of antiquity. I feel that these works are always a bit too melodramatic. If you really want to find the sources of my present style [1958] in antiquity, I must confess that you will find them in the remains of the life of the past rather than in those of its art. The fossilized corpses that have been unearthed in Pompeii.. ..if the whole earth is destroyed in our atomic age, I feel that the human forms which may survive as mere fossils will have become sculptures similar to mine.
    • p. 88
  • I had been born in an Earthly Paradise [in Tuscany, Italy] from which we all have expelled. Not so long ago a sculptor could still be content with a search for full, sensual and vigorous forms. But in the past fifteen years [1943 – 1958], nearly all our new sculpture has tended to create forms that are disintegrating.
    • p. 89
  • Machines change their style so rapidly. If one tries to reproduce them in art as realistically as man and the horse in classical art, one immediately lapses into a kind of anecdotic or documentary art.. .Only the stylisation of a painter like Leger could integrate the machine as the subject matter of art. Here in Italy, the futurists, before 1914, attempted a similar integration of the machine.. ..César [French sculptor, in the generation of Marini] creates with elements borrowed from industry and the world of machines, sculptural fossils that appear to have survived the same kind of catastrophe as my own figures. But I would like to show you [ interviewer w:Eduard Roditi now in my studio my latest fossils..
    • p. 89

Quotes about Marino Marini[edit]

  • it belongs to the highest levels of modern art, when they [the early Etruscan sculptors, very inspiring for Marini] found their images and their forms from basic mythical experiences.. ..he [Marini] tried to imitate their gestures to explain what he meant, then he became one with his creatures, belonging at once to this particular progeny of remote origin.
  • Why should I and other sculptors.. .I know Marino Marini feels it – find this work ['the Rondanini Pietà' of Michelangelo] one of the most moving and greatest works we know of when it's a work which has such disunity in it?
    • Quote of Henry Moore, in an interview with David Silvester, in 'The Sunday Times Magazine', 16 February 1964, pp. 20-22

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