Marino Marini (born Pistoia 1901, died Viareggio 1980) is one of Italy's leading twentieth century modern artists. He infused new life into Italian art by invoking both antique and Renaissance traditions through his work with an elegant simplicity. Marini's vocabulary is essentially limited to three themes: the female figure (Pomona), the rider and horse, and portraits (including special emphasis on dancers and jugglers).
During his lifetime Marini had numerous exhibitions. His first solo exhibition was in Milan in 1932 and in 1935 he won first prize at the Rome Quadriennale. In 1948, a room was dedicated to his works at the 24th Venice Biennale. Here he met Henry Moore, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship, and Curt Valentin, the American merchant who organised an exhibition for him in New York in 1950. Marini gained an international reputation with three major exhibitions of his work in Amsterdam, Brussels, and New York where his 'Great Horse' forms part of the Rockefeller Collection. His best-known work is the large bronze horse and rider commissioned for the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy.
A prominent sculptor and painter, Marini was also devoted to printmaking. In 1976 an exhibition of his etchings and lithographs to date was organised at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, and from 1975 until his death he worked intensively and almost exclusively within the mediums of etching and lithography. These graphic works reveal an engaging and expressionistic approach to image making.
Always working closely with the printers, Marini was continuously experimenting with stylistic variations. Marina Marini has described the graphic works as representative of his 'continuous creative effort'. He was particularly passionate about the medium of stone lithography ' a method which involved drawing directly onto the stone. Marini worked on his engravings in stages, allowing them to develop a more geometric quality, sometimes making the image bolder through the emphasis of a particular line or through the application of blocks of colour.
This exhibition includes editions from the celebrated series Il Teatro delle Maschere . In this series dancers, jugglers and acrobats feature in a Felliniesque atmosphere. These performers, seen to be at the fringes of society, inhabit a strange twilight world. Other series' represented in the exhibition include, among others: Chevaux et Cavaliers , Personnages du Sacre du Printemps , and Tout près de Marino .