Lot 20
  • 20

Marino Marini

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
672,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marino Marini
  • Guerriero (Warrior)
  • Inscribed with the initials MM and stamped with foundry mark FONDERIA ARTE DE ANDREIS MILANO 
  • Bronze 


Acquired from the artist in 1964


Franco Russoli, Il Guerriero di Marino Marini, Milan, 1963, illustration of another cast on the cover and pp. 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25 & 27

Alberto Busignani, Marino Marini, I maestri dei novecento, 1968, illustration of the painted plaster p. 36 & of another cast in color pl. 33

Herbert Read, Patrick Waldberg & Gualtieri di San Lazzarro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, no. 359, illustration of another cast pp. 266-67 & this cast listed p. 374

Abraham Marie Hammacher, Marino Marini, Sculpture, Painting, Drawing, New York, 1971, illustration of another cast p. 270

Carlo Pirovano, Marino Marini—Scultore, Milan, 1972, illustration of another cast pp. 139-40

Marino Marini (exhibition catalogue), National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 1978, illustrations of another cast in color p. 170 & in black and white p. 181

A. Zwemmer, Ltd., ed., Marino Marini, London, 1981, illustrations of another cast pls. 170 & 181

Lorenzo Papi, Marino Marini—Impressioni de Lorenzo Papi, Ivrea, 1987, illustration of another cast n.p.

Carlo Pirovano, ed., Marino Marini—Museo San Pancrazio di Firenze, Milan, 1988, illustration in color of the painted plaster p. 180

Giovanni Iovane, Marino Marini, Milan, 1990, illustrations of another cast pp. 102-03

Carlo Pirovano, Il Museo Marino Marini a Firenze, Milan, 1990, illustration in color of the painted plaster p. 35

Giovanni Testori, Marino Marini Visto da Giovanni Testori, Milan, 1991, illustrations of another cast pp. 79-91

Marina Marini, Sam Hunter & David Finn, Marino Marini, The Sculpture, New York, 1993, illustrated in color pp. 72-73 & in detail pp. 74-77

Marco Meneguzzo, ed., Marino Marini, Cavalli e cavalieri, Milan, 1997, illustration in color of the plaster p. 46 & illustration of another cast pp. 47 & 232

Fondazione Marino Marini, ed., Marino Marini, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan, 1998, no. 430b, illustration of another cast p. 299 

Catalogue Note

Equestrian images have a long and esteemed tradition in Western art. Throughout the centuries, paintings and sculptures of men on horseback, often depicting noble cavalrymen or generals mounted on their steed, celebrated the glories and victories of an era or an empire. But the sculptures of riders and horses that Marino Marini created after the Second World War are a radical departure from this tradition. Conceived in the midst of profound political transformation, Marini’s cavalieri are a response to the wave of uncertainty that engulfed civilization during the Cold War. Marini was obsessed with making the horse and rider theme applicable to the contemporary age, and no other artist in the history of 20th century art came close to revitalizing this age-old subject with such creativity and expressive force. His anonymous, highly abstracted horsemen eschew any pomp or pretense and are rich with psychological complexity and formal beauty. Speaking about this subject matter in his art Marini stated “If you look back on all my equestrian figures of the past twelve years, you will notice that the rider is each time less in control of his mount, and that the latter is increasingly more wild in its terror, but frozen stiff, rather than rearing or running away. This is because I feel that we are on the eve of the end of a whole world” (quoted in S. Hunter & D. Finn, Marino Marini, The Sculpture, New York, 1993, p. 71).

Guerriero (Warrior) from the mid-1950s reflects the psychological impact of mechanized warfare. The bulbous, Etruscan style of Marini's earlier sculptures is replaced by an industrialized angularity, giving the horseman and his rider the appearance of a battlefield howitzer. The scarred bronze surfaces and aggressive, jutting limbs of this work distort the smooth pastoral vision of his earlier work, recalling Picasso's Guernica as a symbol of humanity barbarized by conflict. The symbolic significance of the Warrior series was quickly grasped by Marini's public, and in 1960 the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg purchased a large version of the subject as a memorial of the horrors of war. However the forms of this work also look forward to a nightmarish vision of the future; as Marini told a critic in the late 1950s, “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” (quoted in ibid., p. 21).   

The mechanization of the figure of the horse and rider is a bitter parody of the ideals of an earlier generation of Italian artists such as Marinetti; he and his Futurist colleagues believed war was a means of cleansing the human race and dreamt of “metallization of the human body.” In Marini's work the jagged lines and savage symmetries no longer evoke a mechanized perfection, but instead signify the brutalization of both man and beast as a result of industrialized slaughter on the battle fields of Europe. The abstraction of form is not an aesthetic purification of the horse and rider but a warped vision of nightmarish realism; as Marini commented, “the residue of a series of devastations, emerging from such conflicts, could naturally bring about this new realism, but it would be indelibly smeared with the dirt of bitumen. It could become a diabolical realism, like that of a Dante, returned to poke his fingers into people's eyes...” (quoted in ibid., pp. 26-27).