Born in 1901 in Pistoia , Marini was trained as a painter in the great Renaissance art center of Florence at the Academia di Belle Arti. He drew small subjects from life such as flowers, birds and insects, and he also sculpted. Marini worked intensively, experimenting with different materials, from terracotta to wood and plaster combined with paint, which he also sometimes used with bronze in order to accentuate forms and express movement.
In 1928 he traveled to Paris where he made his debut as a sculptor, and studied with Picasso and other leading modern artists. Marini later returned to Italy , settling in Milan and teaching in nearby Monza .
Marini's work has an elemental simplicity and apart from his few portrait heads, is limited to three themes: the female figure, the rider and horse, and dancers and jugglers. His typical female figure, the Pomona , Roman goddess of fruit trees and hence a symbol of fertility, is archetypal of the Mother Goddess. The rider and horse is often interpreted as man riding and controlling his instincts, the horse being the symbol of the animal component in man. The dancers and jugglers are an extension of the overall optimism which breaks through in his sometimes cloudy vision. They display a vibrancy, an attempt to escape from the restraints and impositions of weight and space.
Marini gained international renown in the 1950s with three major exhibitions of his work in Amsterdam , Brussels , and New York, where his "Great Horse" is displayed in the Rockefeller Collection. His best known work is the large bronze horse and rider commissioned for the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy. Marini's working life covered more than 60 years of prodigious and prolific activity. He has had exhibitions in almost every major city in the world and prizes, medals and awards were constantly accorded him.
The artist’s printed oeuvre is little known in comparison with his sculptural success, but includes etching, engraving, and lithography.