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Idea for the Rider

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Idea for the Rider

Marino Marini, Italian, (February 27, 1901–August 6, 1980)

Creation date: 1955
Creation place: Italy

Other Information

Type: Bronze Sculpture
Medium and Support: Bronze
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge
Accession Number: 1967.175
State/Province: Milan
Dimensions: 85 in. x 36 in. x 55 in. (215.9 cm x 91.44 cm x 139.7 cm)


Pierre Matisse Gallery Corp., New York, New York (1964 - November 28, 1967)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (November 28, 1967 - )

Label Copy

The Fine Art Gallery of San Diego
May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden brochure, c. 1975
An Italian, the artist considers himself in the mainstream of tradition which has included such masters as Donatello and Michelangelo. Marini began working on his series of horsemen as early as 1935. The full realization of the theme occurred after World War II between 1945 and 1951. The horse, straining in agony, and the rider, contorted in amazed desperation, are imagery familiar to the artist, as he recalled seeing horses, innocent victims, loose in the countryside, freightened by bombardments and unattended by an preoccupied with survival. His applied surface, painted and abraded for textural effect, add interest to the overall content of the work.
December 2004
Human Presence: Works from the Museum's Collection
Marino Marini
“When you consider one by one my equestrian statues of these past twelve years,” said Marino Marini, “you will notice each time that the horseman is incapable of managing his mount, and that the animal, in its restlessness ever more riderless, comes more and more to a rigid standstill instead of rearing. I believe in the most serious way that we are heading toward the end of a world.”

The fall from proud height, as seen in his falling cavaliers, is inevitable. Marini himself believed that every action must have a repercussion and that this natural course of events must not be seen as depressing. Yet Marini's sculpture conveys the Tragic, and a representation of the drama of mankind, especially after World War II. His conviction that the twentieth century was a period of cataclysmic change led him to incorporate contradictory elements into his work. His modernist outlook and his intensely felt preoccupation with the disintegration of life and the accompanying terror led him to abstract traditional subjects. Denying the “machine-worship” of his own time exemplified by the Italian Futurist movement and their deconstruction of form into pure energy and movement, Marini drew inspiration from the Renaissance masters Donatello and Michelangelo, and the remnants of the ancient culture of the Etruscans. The bronze forms imply antiquity and the painted surfaces record the recent touch of the contemporary artist.

There is a certain realism in Marini's sculpture--a lack of the metaphysical or the surreal--and while his sculptures express Tragedy, it is also apparent that there is a stubborn unwillingness to give up. The vitality and erotic power of his subject is evident in L'Idea del Cavalier, and supplies the ultimate contradiction in his work, the contradiction that belies the end of civilization and testifies convincingly that human spirit and animal force are unconquerable.
Last Updated: 8/8/2013


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego: May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden , 1/1/1975 - 00/00/00

San Diego Museum of Art: May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden , 1/1/1978 - 00/00/00

Marino Marini , 4/15/1978 - 11/5/1978

The Walbridge Legacy The San Diego Museum of Art , 4/9/1988 - 5/29/1988

American: Art of the 20th Century San Diego Museum of Art , 1/18/2014 - 8/26/2014

Art of the 20th Century , 3/28/2015 - 8/16/2015

Art of the 20th Century San Diego Museum of Art , 7/23/2016 - 00/00/00


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Ms. Mary Stofflet. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 178, 194, 195, Figure Number: 195

The Walbridge Legacy San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1988
Page Number: 61

Ms. Betti-Sue Hertz. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 235, Figure Number: 235

Impressionist & Modern Art, Sotheby's. New York, New York, May 8, 2007
Page Number: 185, 186, Figure Number: 5

Dr. Darrell D. Davisson, Ph.D.. Art After the Bomb: AuthorHouse. Bloomington, Indiana, 2008
Page Number: 55, 59, 263 notes 231, 232, Figure Number: 6.03


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Maker's, On base:

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