As we were planning to visit this contemporary museum in Florence, we taught the team about the architecture and artworks that complement each other.
M U S E O
M A R I N O
M A R I N I .
G R U P P O N O V E
W H Y I S I T I M P O R T A N T ?
It is the ﬁrst ever contemporary art museum in all of Florence.
The overall goal of this Museo is to make Marini’s work, as well
as other contemporary art from the 20th century, accessible to
the public, as it resides in a city that typically “venerates the old
and eschews the modern”.
Marino Marini Museum is designed in 1988 by the Florentine
architects Lorenzo Papi and Bruno Sacchi dedicated for
Marini’s sculptures and paintings. It was built on the church
of Saint PancraziThere are over 180 works by Marino Marini
donated by himself and his wife. The pieces are arranged by
theme as a state of mind rather than in chronological order.
T I M E L I N E
6 T H C
M I D - 1 5 T H C
Leon Battista Alberti
was commissioned by
the Rucellai family to
construct the Sacellum
of St. Sepulchre
1 8 8 3
The lottery HQ
into a tobacco
1 9 8 2
Bruno Sacchi & Lorenzo
Papi were commissioned
to complete a more
of the San Pancrazio
1 9 3 7
Served as a
2 0 1 3
Rucellai Chapel is
reopened for the
1 1 0 0
1 8 0 8
The church was then
turned into the head
ofﬁce of the French
It was considered that Marini integrated tradition and modernity like no other.
“Tradition” to Marini meant faith in certain values pertaining to aspects of the globe,
humanity, history, as a way and consideration of life and life’s circumstances.
Whereas, “Modernity” to Marini was deﬁned as an awareness of his own time as a
complete whole to new values and to contemporary thought.
T R A D I T I O N + M O D E R N I T Y
Marini was one of the most important of
contemporary Italian sculptors. He was born
near Florence and was trained at a the Academy
of Fine Arts in Florence. His works were heavily
inﬂuenced by the suffering he witnessed in Italy
during the war. He described his work as part of
a “new renaissance of sculpture in Italy, the
new humanism, the new reality."
M A R I N O
M A R I N I
1 9 0 1 - 1 9 8 0
The triforium of the Alberti Church was moved to outside as
the museum’s entrance facade. Large windows with bronze
casting were installed during the reconstruction. They work
as a curtain wall of the historical bearing as well as sources
for natural light.
E X T E R I O R
P R O G R A M
B A L C O N Y
F I R S T F L O O R
M E Z Z A N I N E G R O U N D F L O O R
C R Y P T
W A L K W A Y S
The walkways connected accesses in interior
space on different levels. The path within the
museum allows visitors to link, mold and
recognize memories from the past with
L I G H T
The exhibition space is lit with natural light from two side of the
room. Some windows are positioned to lead the light to the
sculpture. Having brighter lighting at important pieces, seats and
entrance and having elements creating darker lighting, the
visitors are naturally directed in the museum.
T E X T U R E
The rustic square-tile terracotta
ﬂoor with a central strip in serena
stone reﬂects the ancient church.
With the excessive use of wood
through out gave the museum a
warm tone which contrast with
S T R U C T U R E Entering through the atrium-entrance with a lowered ceiling
and concrete wall to the central nave. The central aisle the
geometrical axis of the building where we can ﬁnd stairs that
leads to the upper ﬂoor and becomes galleries and unwind
around the central spaces which becomes cavea space
“ F R O M T H E L I G H T T O S P A C E , T O T H E
L A Y O U T A N D A L L T H E O T H E R P R I M A R Y
C O M P O N E N T P A R T S T H A T C R E A T E T H E
B E S T P O S S I B L E C O N D I T I O N T O
A P P R E C I A T E T H E A R T I S T ’ S W O R K T O
T H E F U L L "
M A R I N I ’ S A R T
Although Marini has delved into various
mediums, such as sculpture, painting, graphic
art, and portraiture, his work “coexist in
harmony and share a dynamic symbiosis”.
They’re organized by themes rather than dates,
but the overarching theme is a portrayal of his
ﬁgures out of context and with a sense of
“loneliness without a god.” This is derived from
Marini’s developed sensitivity and moral clarity
towards the real, pragmatic, emotional, and
spiritual consciousness of life. It also goes back
to combining tradition and modernity and is
reﬂected within the architecture that molds and
frames his work.
1_ His works start with colour. Marini believed that “even
if every single discipline had its main source of colour,
they all had their own place and were different.”
2_ His works were made so that natural light was a
necessity in order to read them, and this principle is
apparent throughout the building’s consideration.
3_ Furthermore, each piece has a different point of
view and can be seen at this and other angles from the
various belvedere points created by the pathways,
corridors, stairs, etcetera.
U N D E R L Y I N G
E L E M E N T S
His early works suggests preferences towards
the “primitive charms” of the likes of Piero
Della Francesca, Masaccio, Picasso and
Matisse. The paintings shown in the museum
show his curiosity for what was new at the
end of the 19th century and would translate
into and inspire his work as a sculptor.
L I N E ,
C O L O U R ,
H O R S E &
K N I G H T
P O R T R A I T S
“ T H E H E A D P O R T R A I T S T H A T
M A R I N I W A S A B L E T O D O
W E R E N O T S C U L P T U R E S , B U T
C O M P L E T E N O V E L S . ”
- Guido Giuffrè
They mirrored life as it was and more so the
essence, personalities and emotions of his
models, of whom were famous artists and
makers that posed for him. These busts were
not meant to be ﬁgures of gods or heroes.
The myth of the knight describes how man
takes the power from the animal it dominates.
Pre-WWII, Marini’s sculptures of these knights
were calm and poised, with a sense of
strength and balance, yet were represented
with soft lines. However, as his work
progressed, they reﬂected and expressed the
angst caused by the wartime-events at that
time. So by the development of WWII, his
horses’ uneasiness is more visible and the
knight is more exhausted as he has lost his
power over his beast as a sign of defeat.
T H E
H O R S E &
K N I G H T
post - WWII
pre - WWII
“ L I T T L E B Y L I T T L E , M Y
H O R S E S B E C O M E M O R E
R E S T L E S S , T H E I R R I D E R S
L E S S A N D L E S S A B L E T O
C O N T R O L T H E M . M A N A N D
B E A S T A R E B O T H O V E R C O M E
B Y A C A T A S T R O P H E M U C H
L I K E T H O S E T H A T S T R U C K
S O D O M A N D P O M P E I I . ”
T H E P O M O N A S
This was another theme that Marini explored.
The Pomonas were feminine and sensual ﬁgures
that personiﬁed the goddess of fertility, of
whom live in a poetic, abundant and bright
world. They represent a joyful season that has
been broken by tragic warfare.
These feminine ﬁgures symbolize the aspect of
human nature as if they were looking for the
sun, as ﬁgures that long for warmth in a time of
These ﬁgures were Marini’s 20th century adaptation of
the 19th century themes taken from Commedia Dell’arte
and the circus world.
They expressed the charm, optimism and vibrancy as
reﬂected in their forms of performance and entertainment
as magicians, acrobats, clowns, etc. which symbolized
escape from restraint.
“ C I R C U S T Y P E S ”
The building itself is a palimpsest connecting the Florentine Renaissance with
modern day Florence. The way the building molds with Marini’s work and how the
the artwork is situated as visitors ﬂow throughout the space implies a sense of
symbiosis. It’s one of the only buildings where it is remarkable for both its contents
and the architecture.
I L M U S E O O G G I
l’Arca - Marzo 1989
R E F E R E N C E S