Il grande miracolo (1958) Marino Marini

Christian van der Kooy
About the artwork

In 1954, the Committee for the Establishment of Rotterdam Memorial Foundation had transformed itself into the Herrijzend Rotterdam Foundation. In addition to the realization of resistance monuments, the foundation also wanted to promote the overall urban embellishment by initiating new artworks. Without 'perfected promotion techniques', this company of representatives from the bourgeoisie, the business community and the city authorities again managed to 'acquire a lot of money from the wealthy side'. In this way the city also acquired this image Il grande miracolo (The great miracle) of the Italian sculptor Marino Marini on Rotterdam South - the statue is usually called 'the falling horseman' in Rotterdam. On 12 in March 1945, German soldiers on Pleinweg shot twenty Dutchmen (and another twenty on Hofplein). It was a retaliation after an attack on two members of the German secret service. Art experts on the board of the foundation, including Freek Brevet and Coert Ebbinge Wubben, had worked hard for Marini, who had just received an overview exhibition at Museum Boijmans. The artist made an abstract equestrian statue in which fear and dismay were expressed. But the initiators, organized in the Pleinweg Memorial Foundation, were shocked by the design. This time, however, the foundation's board managed to convince its members and financiers and was able to Il grande miracolo on 3 may 1958 be revealed. After being relocated a number of times, the image in 1988 was given a setting of white concrete set pieces to prevent it sinking into its surroundings, designed by architect Maarten Struijs. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

Marino Marini (Pistoia, 1901 - Viareggio, 1980) was one of the best-known Italian sculptors of modern times. He started his studies in 1917 at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Although he also painted and drew, sculpture was nevertheless his most important expression of art. In 1935 he won the Quadriennale di Roma and in 1936 Marini moved to Switzerland, where he frequently met sculptors Alberto Giacometti, Germaine Richier and Fritz Wotruba in Zurich and Basel. His participation in an exhibition in New York in 1950 led to meetings with artists such as Hans Arp, Max Beckmann, Alexander Calder, Lyonel Feininger and Jacques Lipchitz. In Europe he visited the sculptor Henry Moore in London and exhibited works in Hamburg and Munich. He was invited to attend the Documenta I in 1955 and III in 1964 in Kassel. Marino Marini was inspired by the archaic period in Greece and by the design of Etruscan art. The motifs of female nude, portrait busts and horse riders are the central themes of Marini's work. His work became more and more abstract over the years. His works can be found in all major museums and sculpture parks, as well as in many cities in public spaces around the world.

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