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Cavaliere
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Cavaliere
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Cavaliere

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About the object

Acquired directly from Marino Marini by the father of the present owner, this is a rare example of a major sculpture by the artist to have remained with its first owner for a number of decades. The original plaster cast of Cavaliere is now in the collection of Fondazione Marino Marini in Pistoia. Some of the bronze casts of this work are now in internationally renowned public collections such as the Fukoka Art Museum and The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens in New York.\n\nA central theme of Marini’s sculpture, the subject of horse and rider underwent a number of stylistic transformations throughout the decades, from the simple, rounded forms of the early 1940s, to the highly stylised, almost abstract manner of his late works. Capturing the movement of the two figures in its most dramatic moment, when the rider begins his inevitable fall, Cavaliere is a magnificent example of Marini’s dynamic renderings of this theme in the 1950s. In contrast to the pronounced vertical and horizontal lines of the earlier horse and rider sculptures, in which the rider is firmly seated on the horse’s back, the present work is dominated by diagonals that represent the loss of stability and the broken equilibrium, and that invest the work with a sense of energy and dramatic force.\n\nCarlo Pirovano wrote of Cavaliere: ‘This is one of the most emotionally charged works in Marino’s oeuvre, epitomizing the tragic downfall of the rational certainties that had sustained the heroic impetus of the harmonious recreation of meanings and values. This was a dream of classical idealities that was perhaps only justified by the will to survive, or the illusion that this was possible. The tragedy is made even more harrowing by the threatening sense of danger to which this sculpture alludes. There is an evident antithesis between the protagonists with regard to their reaction to the inexorable force that is about to overwhelm them. Thus, the rider, as if he had already been burnt and were beginning to fossilize, does not attempt do defend himself and falls back like a mannequin. The horse, on the other hand, resorts to its last reserves of energy: with its powerful legs splayed to provide the greatest possible degree of stability, it becomes a sort of battering ram, the materialization of a final gesture of defiance (C. Pirovano, in Marino Marini. Mitografia (exhibition catalogue), Galleria dello Scudo, Verona, 1994, p. 78).\n\nIn choosing the motif 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 civilisations, 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 are the embodiment of a new, raw, elemental force. Having lost its significance in the sphere of transportation and warfare, the horse in Marini’s vision acquires a more spiritual, even mystical character. Unified with the image of a nude rider, it becomes a timeless symbol of humanity. As the artist himself commented:\n\n‘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 [fig. 2], 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 H. Read, P. Waldberg & G. di San Lazzaro, op. cit., p. 491).\n\nFig. 1, Marino Marini in his studio\nFig. 2, The statue of Marcus Aurelius, 2nd century A.D., bronze, Rome\nStamped MM and with the foundry mark De Andreis
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medium

Bronze, hand-chiselled by the artist

creator

Marino Marini

dimensions

Height: 115cm.

exhibition

Rome, Palazzo Venezia, Mostra di Marino Marini, 1966, no. 53, illustrated in the catalogue

literature

Heinz Fuchs, Marino Marini – Il Miracolo, Stuttgart, 1961, illustration of another cast pl. 8 Helmut Lederer & Eduard Trier, The Sculpture of Marino Marini, London & Stuttgart, 1961, nos. 71-73, illustrations of another cast Abram M. Hammacher, Marino Marini Sculptures, Paintings, Drawings, New York, 1970, illustration of another cast pl. 174 Patrick Waldberg, Herbert Read & Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, Marino Marini, Complete Works, New York, 1970, no. 296, illustration of another cast p. 368 Carlo Pirovano, Marino Marini. Scultore, Milan, 1972, no. 298, illustration of another cast p. 164 Marino Marini, Tokyo, 1978, no. 143, illustration of another cast Sam Hunter & David Finn, Marino Marini. The Sculpture, New York, 1993, colour illustration of a detail of another cast pp. 4-5; illustrations of another cast pp. 66-70 Marco Meneguzzo, Marino Marini – Cavalli e Cavalieri, Milan, 1997, no. 74, illustration of another cast p. 224 Fondazione Marino Marini (ed.), Marino Marini, Catalogue Raisonné of the Sculptures, Milan, 1998, no. 375b, illustration in colour of another cast p. 262

provenance

Acquired from the artist by the father of the present owner in 1966

signedDate

Stamped MM and with the foundry mark De Andreis

time_period

Executed in 1952 and cast in bronze in an edition of 7.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private American Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1901 - 1980


*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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