The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Marino Marini’s From Color to Form

Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969
Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969
Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969
Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969
Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969
Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969
Marini, Marino. From Color To Form (Portfolio), 1969

April 25 – June 2, 2013

Born in the town of Pistoia, Marini was influenced by the Etruscan remains found across his Tuscan surroundings. After a brief yet influential sojourn in Paris after the end of World War I, Marini attended the Florence Academy of Fine Art for painting. Under the tutelage of his professors, the young artist found himself drawn to the art of Gustav Klimt, and to the practice of sculpture. Marini went back to Paris in 1928 and the art movements he encountered there opened his eyes to the importance of individuality and to the potential of artistic experimentation. Upon returning to Italy in 1929, Marini became a professor at the Scuola d’Arte di Villa Reale near Milan and developed his work in sculpture. For Marini, the two methods of art (painting and sculpture) were not unrelated. In his From Color to Form portfolio he remarks that he “always had a need to paint,” and that he would “never begin a sculpture without having first pictorially explored its essence.” This dedication to a progression from two-dimensional to three-dimensional art is also deeply based in his commitment to color. Marini understood form as a unique manipulation of color, as an embodiment of the energy of color.

No matter the medium, common themes such as the figures of men, women, and horses emerged from Marini’s work. In reviews of his art, it has been said that Marini did not merely construct his figures, but rather that he generated “symbolic new beings” from his archetypes. With these particular manifestations and constructions of form, Marini revealed his early interest in the archaic figures and patterns of color in Etruscan art. From Color to Form is a collection of ten lithographs on paper that depict the familiar subjects of Marini’s work, mainly horses and their riders in various dynamic displays of color. These works combine all of Marini’s elements of inspiration: the primitive rendering of human and animal bodies, the celebration of color and its ability to structure form and communicate the movement of life, and the nonrepresentational shapes of abstract art. Writing about this portfolio, Marini offered a glimpse into how he perceived and conceived of art: “My artistic vision is part of reality—an imagined reality.” In reference to the spirit of his vivid and imagined renderings of color as rhythmic figures, Marini remarks that “expressionism, at a certain moment, is the desire for a more precise conquest, especially in the expression of things it is the sum of different emotions and of an entity of form and color.”

– This exhibition was curated by Catherine Vassaux, a 2012-2013 curatorial intern, under the direction of Lauren Rabb. Catherine is a senior with a double major in history and art history.