Raffaele Carrieri, Marino Marini scultore, Milan, 1948, illustration of another cast pl. 1
Enzo Carli, Marino Marini, Milan, 1950, illustration of another cast pl. XXXI
Umbro Apollonio, Marino Marini scultore, Milan, 1958, illustration of another cast pl. 83
Jiri Setlik, Marini, Prague, 1966, no. 25, illustration of another cast
Alberto Busignani, Marino Marini, I maestri del Novecento, Florence, 1968, illustration of another cast pl. 18
Abram M. Hammacher, Marino Marini: Sculpture, Painting, Drawing, New York, 1970, illustration of another cast pl. 129
Patrick Waldberg, Herbert Read & Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, no. 232, illustration of another cast p. 356
Carlo Pirovano, Marino Marini scultore, Milan, 1972, no. 239, illustration of another cast p. 159
Lorenzo Papi, Marino Marini - Impressioni di Lorenzo Papi, Ivrea, 1987, illustration of another cast
Carlo Pirovano (ed.), Marino Marini. Catalogo del Museo San Pancrazio di Florence, Milan, 1988, pls. 117 & 118, illustrations of another cast pp. 130-131
Giovanni Iovane, Marino Marini, Milan, 1990, p. 85
Carlo Pirovano, Il Museo Marino Marini a Florence, Milan, 1990, p. 31
Sam Hunter & David Finn, Marino Marini. The Sculpture, New York, 1993, illustrations and details of another cast pp. 2-3, 80-85
Marco Meneguzzo, Marino Marini. Cavalli e cavalieri, Milan, 1997, no. 39, pp. 94-97
Fondazione Marino Marini (ed.), Marino Marini. Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan, 1998, no. 305, illustration of another cast p. 215
A dominating theme of Marini's art, the subject of horse and rider underwent a number of stylistic transformations throughout the decades, from the simple, rounded forms of the early 1940s, to the highly stylised, almost abstract manner of his late works. With its solid forms, the pronounced vertical and horizontal lines, and the figure of the rider firmly seated on the horse's back, Cavaliere recalls the calmer, more harmonious renderings of the theme, which culminated in the famous wooden sculpture The Town's Guardian Angel of 1949-50, and its monumental bronze variant dominating Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice.
Having lived in Switzerland during the second half of the war, Marini returned to Milan in 1946, and immediately started working, developing some of his favourite themes into highly sophisticated and refined images. His role as a leading sculptor on the Italian as well as international scene was reaffirmed at the Venice Biennale of 1948, where he was elected as one of the jury members, and assigned an exhibition room for his work. His renderings of the horse and rider theme during this period are characterised by a sense of tranquillity, with both man and animal appearing unperturbed, unlike the more dramatic, falling figures that dominated Marini's sculpture of the 1950s.
Carlo Pirovano wrote: 'When he returned to Milan after the war [...], Marino began to work again with great enthusiasm. He seemed to be possessed by an uncontrollable creative drive that expressed itself not so much in the formulation of new themes or the proposal of refined narrative motifs as in the sophisticated formal variation of compositions that were apparently banal and predictable in their subject matter' (C. Pirovano in Marino Marini, Mitografia (exhibition catalogue), Galleria dello Scudo, Verona, 1994-95, p. 52). Writing about Marini's horse and rider imagery from this period, Pirovano further observed: 'The interaction between the two protagonists increased in intensity, with ever-closer links creating interdependence that was emotional rather than merely functional (in the sense of the use of the animal simply as a means of transport). This merging into a single entity accentuated, first and foremost, the metaphorical aspects, while on a formal plane it caused the monocentric equilibrium to slowly deteriorate, leading to a dynamic explosion, with all its excitement and anguish, that was to be the dominant theme of Marino's work of the Fifties' (ibid., p. 54).
The present sculpture belongs to a private Swiss collection, in whose possession it has been for many decades. The parents of the present owners met Marini and his wife Marina in the 1940s, and their friendship lasted for many years, resulting in a number of works in their collection that were acquired directly from the artist. Several other casts of this work are in important public collections, including Museo Marino Marini in Florence, Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon and Yamagata Broadcasting Company in Yamagata, Japan.
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