Paard en ruiter
h. 480 cm
No haughty glance in the distance, no clash of arms or other display of power. The equestrian statues of the Italian sculptor Marino Marini are more abstract and have something personal and human. The anonymous riders rather try to get a grip on the often unruly horses, in the same way that man tries to keep life under control. The world-famous artist is known for his renewal of the equestrian statue tradition. This innovation can also be seen in 'Horse and Rider', the bronze sculpture, more than four metres high, that lingers in the grass in the post-war Bouwlust neighbourhood.
In the early 1950s, the municipality of The Hague had decided to purchase several sculptures by internationally renowned sculptors. Marini was the first in this series. At the time, the total budget for sculpture (30,000 guilders) for Bouwlust was spent in one go on the commission for Marini. The exact spot was chosen in consultation with him. This was done on the basis of a scale model, as the district itself was still under construction at the time.
Once it was unveiled in May 1959, it was met with fierce criticism. The press described the - for those days - rather abstract sculpture as a 'monstrosity' and a 'gymnastics horse'. Nevertheless, local residents soon proved attached to the sculpture, for when it was taken down in 1966 to temporarily play a role in the Sonsbeek exhibition, an indignant question arose as to why the horse and its rider had been removed. A similar protest arose in the early 1990s when the park was in need of renovation. Trees that had grown too tall almost obscured Marini's sculpture. There was therefore talk of removing the sculpture. In view of the protests, designer Johan Zorgman eventually made Marini's sculpture the starting point for the new park. Since the winter of '95/'96, a refurbished 'Horse and rider' has graced the renovated greenery.