Italian artist, Marino Marini was born in Pistoia, Tuscany, in 1901. Best known for his rider sculptures, Marini enrolled in the Florence Academia di Belle Arti in 1917, where he studied painting and sculpture. Although he pursued sculpture as his focus, Marini never abandoned painting and drawing. His work is largely influenced by Etruscan art and the work of his professor, Arturo Martini. In 1929 Marini succeeded Martini as professor of the Scuola d’Arte di Villa Reale in Monza, where he continued working until 1940. This position enabled Marini to travel frequently to Paris, where he met many likeminded artists, such as Massimo Campigli, Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Magnelli, and Filippo Tibertelli de Pisis, who encouraged his artistic ambition and helped propel his career. In 1936 he moved to Switzerland, often visiting Zurich and Basel, and became friends with Alberto Giavommeti, Germaine Richier, and Fritz Wotruba. In the same year he received the Prize of the Quadrienniale of Rome. In 1940 he accepted a professorship in sculpture at the Academia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, settling there permanently in 1946.
Marini’s exceptional skill took him to major cities and institutions across Europe and the United States. In 1944, he participated in Twentieth-Century Italian Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in 1950 he had an exhibition of his work at Curt Valentin’s Buchholz Gallery in New York, where he was able to meet Jean Arp, Max Beckmann, Alexander Calder, Lyonel Feininger, and Jacques Lipchitz. Following this exhibition he visited London, where the Hanover Gallery was holding a solo exhibition of his work, and where he met Henry Moore. In 1952 he was awarded the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale, and in 1954, the Feltrinelli Prize at the Academia dei Lincei in Rome.
Marini’s Etruscan and equestrian influence inspired a body of work that is truly unique and garnered high praise. His simplicity of form and abstract appearance lead to a theme in his art that translated seamlessly, both through his sculptural work and his work on paper.