Piccolo Nudo, 1943
Pistoia 1901 – 1980 Viareggio
53.4 x 23.6 x 30.9 cm
21 x 9 19/64 x 12 11/64 in.
Edition of 4; Other editions held in the following collections: Museo Marino Marini, Florence; Fondazione Marino Marini, Pistoia; The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, Japan
Marino Marini, Catalogo
ragionato della scultura, ed. Valerio Terraroli,
Skira, 1998, pp. 146, 147, ill. 203B;
Castel Ivano, Marino Marini, 18
luglio – 30 agosto 1992, p. 58
Marini’s research on the complex representation of female nudes had a consistent evolution between the mid-1930s and the 1940s. The artist carried out his sculptures of nudes departing from a prototype, focusing attention on the same visual motif with merely formal variations. In 1942, the tragic events of the war marked a substantial rupture in Marini’s production of female nudes and inaugurated a new phase of experiments with the figure. This Piccolo Nudo, executed during the artist’s exile in Switzerland, is eloquent of the shift of style, which occurred in these years. Unlike his earlier sculptures, based on a calculated construction of volumes, this rare bronze featured a completely new composition, inspired by the fluid plastic formula typical of the modern sculpture of August Rodin. While the typology remained the same, its poses and expressive code were constrained within a harsher, more dramatic and conflicting syntax. Here, the tormented modeling and destabilising pose of the figure reveal the artist’s love for raw details and gouged surfaces. Gianfranco Contini acknowledges the modernity of Marini’s program for sculpture by defining him a ‘poet of surfaces’ (Vingt Sculptures de Marino Marini, Quaderno, 10 October 1944). The richly worked surface of this Piccolo Nudo is sufficient to render to the body a mysterious allusion to life, building on the archaic forms of the initial conception.
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