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Golden Age Greek Criticism of Henry Moore?s Reclining Woman

Both the shape and body of the Reclining Woman sculpture totally tear down our standards as Golden Age Greeks. Not at all can I make out whom this sculptor is representing. Sure I can make out the basic female figure. However the head is way too small in proportion the rest of the body. Maybe Henry Moore has not yet finished this piece. Did he make a mistake in the development of the chest area? This could be the case. If still this is a finish piece of ?art? in no terms by us Greeks’ is this considered Art.

What I would have done if I were to complete this hiatus mangled human form is to continue to define the legs and arms especially. Still keeping the reclining look even though this promotes the idea of laziness in our eyes. After all, Greek art has to be the ideal of all, the perfect balance of mind and body — picked up from Plato and his teachings. This shows neither. A great example is the discus thrower how the figure shows no physical stress or emotion through the face even though he is performing a strenuous activity. With this in mind further defining of the face, needed so the figure is anatomically correct and shows no stress through facial expression.

This breaks all of our tradition in sculpture. On the one hand the simplification and distortion of body and limb seem extremely daring departures from the tradition which few do; on the other hand, this is reminiscent of the earliest sculpture ever produced, which is far from a perfect balance. Thus he has created a new form; that of pure laziness.

Moore must think with the third dimension every bit as much as he must think in terms of the other two. Human ideals should come naturally — correct proportions with the Platonic idea of mind and body balanced. Tying all of these sculptural ideas together would be a great help for Henry Moore, who seems challenged by every bit of these.

Other points to be noted in the execution of the sculptor’s idea than those of relating the proportions, preserving the perfect body, and suggesting depths. A cardinal requirement, and one which is made much of in any discussion of Greek sculpture, is truth. Truth is essentially the same in sculpture as it is in anything else, but there are in sculpture certain applications of it which need indicating. If truth is conformity to a standard, there will be in every art certain canons, conventions, principles, which are proper to that art and to which works of that art must be referred. If the works fail to conform, they are not expressions of that art but rebels against it. Whether carved, modeled, written, painted, danced, or acted, the work must correspond to these set Greek ideals. Henry Moore does not fit this with his Reclining Woman sculpture.


None. Art History notes.

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