If you’re planning to be in Venice over the Spring, be sure to head to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, where you’ll find the first ever retrospective exhibition dedicated to Marino Marini (1901-1980) – the most famous and admired Italian sculptor of the 20th century.
Marini’s bronze sculpture of a horse and rider, The Angel of the City, is one of the most iconic and memorable works in the museum’s permanent collection, bought by Peggy Guggenheim in 1948 and still exhibited in its original location, between the gates of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni overlooking the Grand Canal. (In her memoirs, Guggenheim famously mentioned that the figure’s erect phallus sometimes risked offending passing nuns or “stuffy visitors”, so she would occasionally unscrew it).
This excellent new exhibition now aims to contextualize the infamous sculpture in a broader art historical context, by presenting more than fifty of the artist’s works together with twenty comparative pieces drawn from antiquity to the 20th century. Following Marini’s artistic production from the 1920s to the 1950s, the show encourages visitors to explore an intensive dialogue between his sculptures and those from past centuries, ranging from Egyptian, ancient Greek and Etruscan antiquities to Medieval, Renaissance, 19th and 20th century sculpture including works by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso. A must-visit for anyone interested in discovering more about the historical and stylistic context of Marini’s work, as well as 20th century modernism in general.