Franco Marzilli was born in Rome in 1934. He received his early art education at the Preparatory School for Ornamental Arts in Rome, and then embarked on his own artistic research inspired by atmospheres typical of the artists of the Roman School.
He began exhibiting in 1962 in various Italian galleries, and from the late 1960s to the early 1970s he was invited to exhibit his work in New York, London, and Paris, where he settled for a short time. Back in Italy, he moved to Sabina – a region in the countryside near Rome – settling first in Casperia and then in Poggio Mirteto, where he perfected his sculptural techniques working in both bronze and ceramics. Through the use of colours obtained from a skilful blending of earth and oil, applied to the canvas with soft brushstrokes, Marzilli revisited traditional subjects, from urban landscapes – particularly of Rome – and scenes of rural Sabina to dancers at rest and still lifes. Among the subjects of his mature period are his knights, horseback figures verging on abstraction, which are best exemplified in the large mosaic he created in the early 2000s in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi in Tivoli.
His many exhibitions in private galleries and public venues include solo shows at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences of Cardiff University in 1973, and at the Sala de Exposiciones in Buenos Aires in 1997. Among the many prestigious critics who have commented on his artwork are: Carmine Benincasa, Toni Bonavita, Carlo Fabrizio Carli, Costanzo Costantini, Floriano De Santi, Carlo Giacomozzi, Sebastiano Grasso, Michelangelo Masciotta, Ruggero Martines, Carlo Melloni, Dario Micacchi, Terence Mullaly, Edith Schloss, Guglielmo Petroni, Marcello Venturoli and Max Wykes-Joyce. Marzilli died in Poggio Mirteto in 2010.