Reclining Figure: External Form 1953-54 (LH 299)


Galleria Nazionale d Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

length 213cm

photo: Sarah Mercer

photo: Sarah Mercer
(photographed whilst on loan to Henry Moore, Baths of Diocletian, Rome, January 2016)

I want to be quite free of having to find a ‘reason’ for doing the Reclining Figures, and freer still of having to find a ‘meaning’ for them. The vital thing for an artist is to have a subject that allows to try out all kinds of formal ideas – things that he doesn’t yet know about for certain but wants to experiment with, as Cézanne did in his ‘Bathers’ series. In my case the reclining figure provides chances of that sort. The subject-matter is given. It’s settled for you, and you know it and like it, so that within it, within the subject that you’ve done a dozen times before, you are free to invent a completely new form-idea.

Henry Moore quoted in John Russell, Henry Moore, Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, London 1968, p.28