Cavallo e cavaliere signed 'MARINO' (lower right) pencil, black ink and gouache on paper 67.9 x 46.9cm (26 3/4 x 18 7/16in). Executed circa 1955
The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Marino Marini Foundation.
This gouache is typical of Marino Marini's exploration of one of his favourite motifs. Horses and riders appear repeatedly throughout his career but the representation evolved dramatically as time passed and the horrors of the Second World War became apparent to the world. The submissive horses and masterful riders of the early years later developed into expressive compositions which communicate the frailty and despair that became palpable in the relationship between man and nature.
In the present work the artist approaches these motifs through a dynamic interplay of black lines and shapes. Compared to other compositions, here there is no dramatic gesture. The horse is presented as stationary with its legs crossed and head up, as if proudly posing before the spectator. The rider, seated firmly in the saddle, has his back slightly arched, echoing that of the horse, conveying a sinuosity which creates a counterpoint to the bold criss-cross of diagonals. On a rich terracotta background, a nod to the Etruscan tradition, the two figures merge into a refined geometric composition whose balance, reminiscent of Marini's sculptures from the 1930s, carries with it the underlying tension characteristic of his later work.