MARINO MARINI. VISUAL PASSION

February 6th, 2018
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
January 27th – May 1st, 2018
Opening hours: 10 am – 6 pm, closed on Tuesdays


This exhibit is the first one focused on Marino Marini’s work, not as a regular retrospective but as a synthesis of his main constituents of his visual language.

His sculptures have been shown in major museums around the world, including Guggenheim Collection in Venice where a bronze statue, The Angel of the City,  stands right in the middle of the museum entrance on the Grand Canal.

In the last decades Marini was considered as an outsider in the art scene, while this time the two curators have tried a new approach, based on a comparison between the artist's works and the 20th cent. European sculpture, including the Classical heritage.

You will be albe to view his confrontation with Arturo Martini, Giacomo Manzù and Aristide Maillol, on the theme of the female nude, as well as his interest in 15th century Florentine and Medieval sculpture.

On the other hand Marini could not skip the learnings of Etruscan and Greek art, with some references to ancient Eastern one.
Marini’s early career dates from the late 1920s-early 1930s, ruled in art by over-decorative and classicist style, which was ignored by the artist and highly appreciated for that!

He was inspired by the archaic style of some Etruscan funerary urns or the abstract volumetric synthesis of the terracotta Florentine portraits, definitely anti-academic pieces endowed with the representation of the subject’s personality.

Marini’s anti-heroic mood is expressed by the viril nudes of the “Swimmer” and the “Boxer”, both carved in wood, a rare material for the artists of the period.

In both cases he preferred to highlight the relaxation after the physical effort in the former and the suffering attitude for the defeat in the latter, showing a sensitive approach to such special characters.

The artist went through different phases and stylistic challanges. From the 1930’s one of his favourite subjects  was the man on a horse, whose models were borrowed from both Piacasso and classical exemples.

The dramatic and tense poses were combined with the slender grace of the animal, as a metaphor of the tragic nature of history and mankind. This theme made his international reputation, since he continued to develop the dynamics of forms until the 1950’s.

Marini’s horses and riders could boast a full range of postures, profiles and torsions of the bodies, until he reached an unprecedented geometric synthesis and multiple perspectives to look at. 

At the same time Marini started to work on the Pomona series, a tribute to the female body, considered as “a bridge towards poetry”.

Marini was inspired by the fluidity of the classical modelling already celebrated by Aristide Maillol a few decades earlier, so that realism was always counterbalanced by a natural play of forms, lines and masses.

In the Roman age Pomona was associated with flourishing of the fruit trees and the protector of gardens and orchards.

The small pedestals or the lack of it, are the evidence of an anti-rhetorical attitude, highlighting the original nature of the female body.

The legacy of the great sculptor Auguste Rodin greatly affected Marini’s style during his sojourns in Paris on the 1920’s and 1930’s. He developed an extraordinary sensitivity for the way light and shade glided over the surfaces of the bodies, for both standing figures set free in the space and mutilated statues.  

After the World War II Martini’s style became more essential and tense, influenced by Picasso and Henry Moore.

The late works of the artist give us a chance to consider his multiple references and the way modern sculptor can renew old languages in order to be still meaningful and fascinating.
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