Marino Marini (1901-1980)
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Marino Marini (1901-1980)

Piccolo Cavaliere

Marino Marini (1901-1980)
Piccolo Cavaliere
stamped with initials ‘M.M’ (on the top of the base); numbered '4/6' (on the side of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 15 7/8 in. (40.5 cm.)
Conceived in 1947 and cast in an edition of 6
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne.
Studio Copernico, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007.
H. Read, P. Waldberg & G. Di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, no. 233, p. 358 (a smaller version illustrated p. 356).
C. Pirovano, Marino Marini scultore, Milan, 1972, no. 240 (another version illustrated).
M. Meneguzzo, Marino Marini: cavalli e cavalieri, Milan, 1997, p. 215, no. 40 (another version illustrated).
G. Carandente, Marino Marini, Catalogo Ragionato delle Sculture, Milan, 1998, no. 306, p. 216 (another version illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Antoine Lebouteiller
Antoine Lebouteiller

Lot Essay

The Fondazione Marino Marini has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Piccolo cavaliere is one of the series of equine sculptures that Marini executed in the 1940s which use a reductive simplicity of form to celebrate the ancient and sacred relationship between man and horse in the attempt to convey this mystic union as a single, tangible and very material presence. Owing much to the elegant and simple forms of ancient Etruscan sculpture as well as to the modern Etruscan-influenced sculpture of Arturo Martini, many of these 1940s works, including Piccolo cavaliere, deliberately contrast the earthy materiality of the united man/horse figure with a deep sense of spirituality.

This sacred marriage between man and nature was one that Marini believed was under threat from the modern world. 'The whole history of humanity and nature lies in the figure of the horse and rider in every period,' Marini wrote. 'Since my childhood, I have observed these beings, man and horse, and they were for me a question mark. In the beginning there was a 'harmony' between them, but in the end, in contrast to this unity, the violent world of the machine arrives, a world which captures it in a dramatic, though no less lively and vitalizing way' (quoted in Marino Marini, Pistoia, 1979, pp. 29-30.) Recalling the simple archaic beauty of Etruscan art, Piccolo cavaliere uses a simple elegance of form to articulate this theme of Man and Nature and to invoke a sense of the mystery and primal energy of the ancients.

Marini once observed that the most powerful source for his horse-and-rider image was that of the crowds of people fleeing Milan on horseback before the advancement of the Allied armies at the end of the Second World War. Evidently, the timeless image of the horse and rider impressed itself on Marini as a dramatic and poignant contrast to the collective anonymity and impersonality of a modern mechanized army on the march. In addition, the fact that in their panic and despair, people resorted to this more ancient but more personal, practical and animistic form of transport would also have impressed an artist who considered Etruscan and Egyptian art superior to the more derivative arts of Ancient Rome, the Renaissance and even classical Greece.

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