Marini was born in the Tuscan town of Pistoia and attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence in 1917. Although he never abandoned painting, Marini devoted himself primarily to sculpture from 1922. During this time his work was influenced by Etruscan art and the sculpture of Arturo Martini, who he succeded as a professor at the Scuola d’Arte di Villa Reale in Monza. In 1936, Marini moved to Switzerland where he became friends with Alberto Giacometti, Germaine Richier, and Fritz Wotruba and received the Prize of the Quadriennale of Rome. His paintings and sculptures have since been shown in retrospectives across Europe and he received the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1952.