Marino Marini (1901-1980)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Marino Marini (1901-1980)


Marino Marini (1901-1980)
stamped with the raised initials 'MM' (on one side)
bronze with a dark brown patina
47 x 31 x 25 cm.
Conceived and cast in 1953, this work is the first artist's proof from two, besides the edition of six
Acquired directly from the artist by Piet and Ida Sanders in 1955.
D. Welling, 'Twintig jaren man te paard: Werken van professor Marino Marini', in: Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad, 26 February 1955.
P. Waldberg (a.o.), Marino Marini: l'oeuvre complet, Paris 1970, no. 312/0, p. 370 (illustrated), as: Petit miracle.
P. Waldberg (a.o.), Marino Marini: Leben und Werk, Berlin 1971, no. 312/0, p. 370 (illustrated), as: Kleine Mirakel.
C. Pirovano, Marino Marini scultore, Milan 1973, no. 317/0 (illustrated).
C. Pirovano, Marino Marini: mitografia: sculture e dipinti 1939-1966, Verona 1994, no. 23, pp. 86-89 (another cast illustrated pp. 87-89).
G. Carandente, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan 1998, no. 392b, p. 274 (another cast illustrated), as: Small Miracle.
P. Sanders, Herinneringen, Amsterdam, 2009, p. 117 (illustrated).
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Marino Marini, 27 February-28 April 1955, no. 36.
Haarlem, Vishal, Facetten der hedendaagse kunst uit drie Nederlandse verzamelingen, 8 September-1 October 1956, no. 9.
Almelo, Kunstkring de Waag, Sculptuur uit verleden en heden. Nederlands particulier bezit, 20 October-2 December 1957, no. 116. Schiedam, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedammers tonen hun kunstbezit, 18 December 1959-16 February 1960, no. 201.
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Nederlanders verzamelen hedendaagse kunst, 24 February-1 April 1962, no. 72.
Haarlem, Frans Halsmuseum/De Hallen, Moderne Italiaanse kunst uit Nederlands partikulier en museaal bezit, 12 October-30 November 1969, no. 104.
Amstelveen, Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Studio Toscane: Karel Appel, Roberto Barni, 1 October 2011-15 January 2012.
Schiedam, Stedelijk Museum, Collectie Piet en Ida Sanders. Leven met kunst, 30 June-21 October 2012.
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.
Sale room notice
Please note that Christie's has chosen to use as title Atomico, since this is the title used at the exhibition: Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Marino Marini, 27 February-28 April 1955, where Piet and Ida Sanders acquired the work, instead of title the Piccolo miraculo as stated in the catalogue raisonneé.

Brought to you by

Alexandra Bots
Alexandra Bots

Lot Essay

Atomico is one of the most strikingly modern sculptures in Marino Marini's oeuvre. In a surprising play of tension of opposite movements, the body of the rider and the horse are fused in an entrancing, dynamic shape verging towards abstraction. As the horse hurls its neck backwards, reaching for the sky, the rider rigidly slips toward the ground, his back arched and tense in his fall. Unlike the grandiose equestrian monuments that adorn the piazze of his native Italy celebrating the great warriors of the past, this work has no pedestal: the rider is no hero, but an anonymous, shapeless form, evicted and helpless. With Atomico, Marini turned the solemn, solid iconography of the equestrian monument into an image of struggle, failure and possibly tragedy.

In its technique and style, Atomico marks a crucial point in Marini's career: it heightens the expressionist charge of the artist's post-war period and figures his last, most abstract works. Compared to the round, plain forms of Marini's early horse-riders, Atomico is angular, reduced to its bare structure, almost fossilized. Although rooted in realism, the organic shapes of the man and the horse have been schematized into geometric planes, and the animal's neck bears the cubist influence of Guernica's braying horse. In 1953 - the same year Atomico was first cast - Picasso's Guernica was in fact exhibited in Milan. It is almost certain that Marini - who had first met Picasso in Paris in 1928 - saw the painting on that occasion. In the aftermaths of the war, it is possible that Picasso's image of universal suffering encouraged Marini to develop further that expressionist thrust and dramatic impetus that, in those years, slowly changed the nature and meaning of his riders.

When compared to the cult of the machine proclaimed by the Futurist avant-garde, Marini's early horse-riders appeared initially as anti-modern oddities. They had medieval and Etruscan flavours and their interest seemed to be more formal, than historical. After the war, however, works such as Atomico came to symbolise the uncertain future to which those very machines were delivering mankind. The rebellious, dangerous and untamable horse unsaddles its rider, just as machines had attacked their own inventors during the war. In its drama, Atomico embodies Marini's view of the Twentieth Century. 'My statues of riders express the distress caused by the events of my epoch', Marini stated. 'The agitation of my horse augments with each work The sculptures of these last fifteen years do not try to be heroic, but tragic' (see: M. Marini in 1958, quoted in Marino Marini, exh. cat., Venice 1983, p. 129).

More from The Piet and Ida Sanders Collection

View All
View All