One of the many features which Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and Henry Moore (1898-1986) share is the way their figures grow out of the landscape. Compton Verney in Warwickshire is a lovely setting for these sculptures. Its Moore Rodin show is on until 31 August.
There are 11 sculptures in the park, demonstrating a strong relationship with nature. Moore’s massive The Arch (1969) is by the lake.
Rodin’s Monument to the Burghers of Calais (1889) is normally high up on a plinth in the Victoria Tower Gardens, west of the Houses of Parliament. It is so much better to see them at ground level, as they are at Compton Verney, and appreciate their suffering.
Rodin had maquettes of various body parts in this studio and kept using the same ones, so that some of the burghers share hands and feet. The sculpture commemorates an event in 1347, during the Hundred Years War, when six city officials offered their lives by volunteering to act as hostages while Calais was under siege, carrying the city’s keys to King Edward III of England.
Sites centrally in front of the house is Moore’s massive Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae (1968).
By the lake, Rodin’s Jean d’Aire, Monumental Nude (1887) demonstrates power beneath the skin, with his clenched muscles.
Rodin and Moore were born 58 years apart, but there are many similarities between their work, and the sculptures are displayed to highlight these. The two below, Rodin’s Walking Man, on a column (1900) and Moore’s Upright Motive No 9 (1979) are close to each other in the park.
Two further sculptures, Moore’s Reclining Figure Bunched (1969) and Rodin’s The Fallen Caryatid with Stone, large model (1911) show a powerful tension.
There are many more sculptures in the exhibition rooms. It’s well worth a visit.