Growing from the landscape

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.

Moore, The Arch

Moore, The Arch

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, Burghers of Calais

Rodin, Burghers of Calais

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).

Moore: Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae

Moore: Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae

By the lake, Rodin’s Jean d’Aire, Monumental Nude (1887) demonstrates power beneath the skin, with his clenched muscles.

Rodin, Jean d'Aire with Moore's The Arch behind

Rodin, Jean d’Aire with Moore’s The Arch behind

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.

Rodin, Walking Man

Rodin, Walking Man

Moore, Upright Motive

Moore, Upright Motive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two further sculptures, Moore’s Reclining Figure Bunched (1969) and Rodin’s The Fallen Caryatid with Stone, large model (1911) show a powerful tension.

Moore, Reclining Figure and Rodin The Fallen Caryatid

Moore, Reclining Figure and Rodin The Fallen Caryatid

There are many more sculptures in the exhibition rooms.  It’s well worth a visit.

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About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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