A Horse for Peace


Marino Marini in Berlin, Jerusalem, and Tokyo.

The sculpture “Miracle-the idea of an image” is a work from the years 1969-70 that is known worldwide. It is also one of the last monumental sculptures by Marino Marini, the artist born in Pistoia in 1901. The equestrian group is certainly the best-known subject of his work, a theme the artist began to develop in the 1930s.  It can be seen as a true symbol, a very original language that Marino adopted to express himself and to interpret the world. In fact he said, throughout the history of humanity and nature, in every age, there have been figures of a horse and rider. It’s my way of telling their story. It’s the figure that I have needed to give form to man’s passion (…)

The Miracles appeared in his work after the artist had experienced the tragedy of war and was able to see the horrors and devastation that it left behind. He himself described his miracles as: The rider has become increasingly powerless to master his horse; the ever more savage beast, in its agitation, has become inflexible rather than rising up. I seriously believe that we are heading towards the end of the world.

The Miracles can best be described as torn, tragic, “expressionist” forms because, as Marino himself said, the world has become expressionist. With these dissolute, extremely dramatic forms, Marino revealed a wholly ethical concern for the human condition. Indeed, he said, At a certain point, the idea continues until its destruction. It is this fiery image, this vision of a rider who, at some point, is broken and wants to go to heaven. He is no longer well either on earth or in heaven. He wants to bore into the earth’s crust or go directly into the stratosphere, but he does not want to be peaceable on an earth amidst men who are no longer peaceful, who have gone mad. He tries to escape either into the hole in the Earth’s crust or into space but ends up destroying himself having been destroyed by this idea … this is the time of a tragedy that is still somewhat human. Then, there is the final tragedy but it is no longer human: the rider has become a fossil.

The culminating work in Marini’s exploration of the horse-and rider-theme, “Miracle-the idea of an image” has now become a symbol of peace and hope. Indeed, three examples of this work have been placed in very important, extremely significant locations. Marino used the precarious balance of the human figure on the verge of falling off the back of a runaway horse as a present and future warning to humanity. The Miracle stands out in mid-air, free from any type of spatial framework, on the visual axis between the House of Representatives and the Reichstag building, near the Spree River in Berlin’s Parliament district. The position and orientation of this artwork make it a focal point in which—symbolically in this city—the history and tragedy of the last century converge.

Another example of the Miracle is found in Jerusalem, in the Billy Rose Art Garden at the Israel Museum, where it commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. Lastly, there is another in Tokyo, at the National Museum of Modern Art, in memory of the victims of Hiroshima.

No other words are needed for these places and events. The names of these cities already evoke apocalyptic scenarios that humanity should not and must not ever forget. Perhaps more than words themselves, the tragically unbalanced figures of these Miracles are and always will be a reminder to all of humankind of these past events in all their brutality.



Ambra Tuci


Alfio Garozzo

Archivio Fondazione Marino Marini

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