Moore Rodin, Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, Hertfordshire

Visual art review: Rodin comes acalling at Henry Moore's place ... it's the great bronze off!

5.00

 

Defy the traffic beside the Houses of Parliament and you can see, to one side, Henry Moore's Knife Edge Two Piece and to the other, Rodin's The Burghers of Calais. Or you could do, until what the French sculptor called "my novel" was trundled up the A10 to Perry Green in Hertfordshire, to Moore's home, studio and gardens. Here, for the first time, the great modernist's work is being shown alongside that of another artist. Other collaborations will follow, but Rodin is the obvious first guest – Moore treasured an early volume about him, bought his work, liked the things he liked.

If you want to come face to face with the French martyrs before the autumn, then, head for Moore Rodin. And face to face it is – the brave citizens who were designed to stand four-square on the ground, were, once installed at Westminster in 1913, so dwarfed by their Victorian Gothic backdrop, that Rodin sanctioned a plinth, so changing the vulnerable huddle of determined heroes to a lofty collection of municipal worthies. Planted at Perry Green at their intended level, between the shrubs and trees, they shrink rather than swell with proximity, a trick of scale that runs through a show in which the colossal is often delicate and the miniature impregnable.

The nude figure of Calais martyr Jean d'Aire, straining fists clenched to surrender the keys to his town, is a prototype for the Burghers. Each was modelled naked then "dressed" in plaster-soaked folds so that the immense strength of resolve is not a final flourish, but comes from within. Every dimple is cavernous, every sinew stretched.

Most of the consoling monoliths and groups of Moore are in their usual home, but now, through their scoops and curves we can glimpse their Rodin counterparts, as handpicked by curator Anita Feldman, largely from the Musée Rodin gallery and garden in Paris. While lambs gambol prettily in the iced meadow, the Yorkshireman's vast and tender figures settle benignly into the landscape – here, Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae (1969), with its dinosaur joints, there, elephantine Arch (1969).

Smaller works, in the gallery, show synergies of material and subject: mother-and-child embraces, women intimately observed, figures that appear to emerge fully formed from rock or recede into it. There are moments when the labels could be swapped without anyone suspecting.

Both sculptors delighted in tiny miracles of nature – intricate seashells, teasing stones. Both elevated special finds from the natural world on little plinths. Both toyed surreally with their own maquettes, planting them in antique vessels. Both modelled and drew unceasingly, Rodin stockpiling limbs and torsos, Moore fashioning figures in the image of the quirky flints and bleached bones he squirrelled into the studio that brims with found objects and the maquettes they inspired.

You long for them to have met. But Rodin died in 1917 when Moore, at 19, was in the trenches. Their meeting of minds is suggested in a combined collection of favourite possessions: Rodin's Ancient Egyptian ibis, Moore's Hittite ox; Rodin's Hellenistic female figure; Moore's 14th-century tomb angel; Rodin's skipping Aphrodite; Moore's early 20th-century dancer, work of one Auguste Rodin.

We run the risk of glancing nonchalantly at the work of much-loved artists such as these, favoured by public collections and spaces. The London borough of Tower Hamlets, in trying to flog off its superb Moore, Draped Seated Woman, has a bad solution for such bronze fatigue. Instead, this show refreshes tired eyes, and unveils the unfamiliar.

Tucked away in one case, only a few centimetres high, is Moore's coloured-concrete Torso (1926). As unexpectedly taut and tense as a Rodin and uncharacteristically futuristic, it was acquired by Perry Green last year, and has not been seen by the public since the Twenties. That alone – and everything else – makes the show unmissable.

 

The Henry Moore Foundation (01279 843333) to 27 Oct; Compton Verney, Warwickshire (01926 645500), 15 Feb - 31 Aug 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect