marino marini is one of the most interesting figures in the italian cultural and artistic landscape of this century.
from the 1930s to the ’40s, marino was researching the development and elaboration of a “pure” form, through the modernization and re-elaboration of the Etruscan and medieval tradition. his sister, a poetess, writes to him: “marino is born mediterranean in the tyrrhenian basin, the land of an ancient vein in which he buries his physical and moral roots, and where they insist on love for the fields, the serene shadow of giotto, human scapegoat of masaccio and that of the agitated completely modern pisano”.
the theme of the knight that he constructs in these years will be a constant in his work, almost a symbolic signal of his personal vision of the world. as marino himself liked to say, “there is the whole history of humanity and the human framework in the figure of the knight and the horse; in every age of it. At first there is a harmony between them, but in the end, especially after the last war, the age of the machine violently fractures this symbiosis in a dramatic way, yet renders it no less alive and vitalizing.”
in fact, starting in 1943 it became possible to see signs of change in the adaptable rendering of the theme: the forms open, they become violent, full of tension; the relationship between the knight and horse becomes dramatic, conflicting.
in the post-war marino accentuates the dynamic tension of his works, adding to deformation, rough and emaciated surfaces.
in recent years the theme of the pomona, a symbol of fertility, of prosperous and welcoming femininity, retreats and is replaced by figures from the circus and theater: jugglers and dancers are characterized by elongated, strongly expressive shapes, accentuated by traces of color that sometimes make them disturbing. in the series of horses and riders we see the figure of the group merging, forming blocks of curved shapes, dense in pathos. this fundamental stylistic variation reflects a violent change in marino marini’s vision of things.
the episode of war hit him hard, man loses dignity, value. “he built himself, he destroyed himself / a desolate song remained in the world”: with this literary quote marini replied to a friend who asked him what poetic idea would a work that was being born at that time symbolize. and it is always marino that said: “(..) I, born peaceful, in a calm climate, in the sign of a safe education and, from a certain aesthetic point of view, perfect; I have entered into the world of unrest of the twentieth century and through this turbulence, I changed the shape, the expression of my sculpture … “.
there is also a change in expressive language in marino’s paintings and in his graphic design; the color becomes brighter, fuller and shifts into a symbol. the shapes, even on the canvas, disintegrate. they do not tell, they do not describe, but they evoke. in this sense we leave the word to marino: “as in love, in art we cannot explain everything, certain parts remain in the bright shadow of the mystery.”