RECLINING FIGURE 1939
Henry Moore (1898 – 1986)
- 31.5 x 11.5 x 17.0
- BRONZE ON OAK BASE
- Accession number
In this maquette we recognise one of the fundamental challenges faced by sculptors - how to see a sculpture in the round when preparatory drawings could only show one flat view at a time. Moore greatly admired Picasso and took some inspiration from the Surrealist movement of the time to really explore his own visual language and imagination, using the human figure as a starting point that invariably led back to itself. He often reduced the size of the head, traditionally the most important element of the figure, to avoid the interpretation of individual portraits and to make us look at the whole, expressing universal human experience. He grappled with spatial form and one solution he developed was to carve holes all the way through the sculpture, allowing us to quite clearly see that the form is three-dimensional. Here, the holes, fluid carving and rubbed patina draw our eye round and through the organic female form. It is perfectly balanced, so much so that we hardly notice the flattened groove in place of a head. The sensuous poise seems to have been shaped by wind and water, much like the driftwood he collected from the beach, with its worn-down areas and hollows.
Text by Sarah Gillett, Visual Arts Manager, British Council, from the catalogue for the exhibitionHenry Moore in Qatar, 2007
A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.