Lot 70
  • 70

Marino Marini

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marino Marini
  • Piccolo cavaliere
  • Stamped with the initials M.M.; stamped with the foundry mark FONDERIA ARTISTICA BATTAGLIA & CO on the underside
  • Bronze, hand-painted and chiselled 
  • Height: 15 3/4 in.
  • 40 cm


Private Collection, U.K.

Eric Estorick, New York

Private Collection, New York

The Grosvenor Gallery, London

Private Collection, Europe

Private Collection (acquired in 1999 and sold: Sotheby's, London, October 16, 2006, lot 8)

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 7, 2007, lot 49)

Acquired at the above sale


Umbro Apollonio, Marino Marini scultore, Milan, 1953, pl. 87, illustration of another cast

Eduard Trier, Marino Marini, Cologne, 1954, pl. 20, illustration of another cast

Jirí Setlík, Marini, Prague, 1966, no. 3, illustration of another cast

Patrick Waldberg, Herbert Read & Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, no. 251a, illustration of another cast p. 360; no. 251, illustration of a ceramic version p. 359

Carlo Pirovano, Marino Marini scultore, Milan, 1972, no. 257, illustration of the original plaster p. 160

Sam Hunter and David Finn, Marino Marini. The Sculpture, New York, 1993, color illustration of another cast p. 97

Marco Meneguzzo, Marino Marini: cavalli e cavalieri, Milan, 1997, no. 46a, illustration of a ceramic version p. 217

Fondazione Marino Marini (ed.), Marino Marini, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan, 1998, no. 326, illustration of the original plaster p. 229

Catalogue Note

Piccolo cavaliere is an effusive example of Marini's most celebrated theme, that of the horse and rider, characterized by a uniquely finished surface, hand-painted by the artist in shades of orange, yellow and blue. Apart from the bronze edition, Marini also executed four ceramic versions of this work (Fondazione Marino Marini (ed.), op. cit., no. 325). In choosing the subject of horse and rider, Marini draws on a long established tradition of equestrian painting and sculpture, that had its prominent place in more or less every period throughout the history of Western art, from small-scale votive renderings of early civilizations, to the grand, triumphant statues of modern-day rulers and military leaders. While firmly grounding his art in this tradition, in contrast to the often bombastic and politically motivated sculptures created by his predecessors, Marini's horses and riders acquire a more spiritual, even mystical character and become a timeless symbol of humanity.

As the artist himself commented: "For many centuries, the image of the rider has maintained an epic character. Its object was to pay homage to a conqueror, as, for example, Marcus Aurelius whose statue on the Capitol, inspired the majority of the equestrian statues of the Italian Renaissance, as well as that of Louis XIV, which ornaments the 'Place des Victoires' in Paris. However, the nature of the relations which have existed for so long between men and horses [...] has been greatly changed during the last half century: the horse has been replaced in its economic and military functions by the machine [...]. It has quickly become a sign of luxury. It can even be said that, for the majority of our contemporaries, the horse has acquired a mythical character. [...] With Odilon Redon, Picasso and Chirico, the horse has been transformed into a kind of dream, into a fabulous animal" (quoted in Herbert Read, Patrick Waldberg & Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, op. cit., p. 491).

According to the artist's catalogue raisonné, the present work was conceived in plaster in 1949 and cast in bronze in an edition of 6.  This particular bronze was chiseled and colored by the artist.