Henry Moore back to Florence. Almost fifty years (it was 1972) after the memorable exhibition at the Forte di Belvedere which saw the protagonist of the English master of sculpture, the Museo Novecento decides to pay homage to him with "Henry Moore. The sculptor's drawing”, Exhibition curated by Sebastiano Barassi, Head of Henry Moore Collections and Exhibitions e Sergio Recovered, Artistic director of the Museo Novecento. The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation, with the contribution of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, until July 18 2021 will see the Florentine museum host a substantial selection of drawings, about seventy, together with graphics and sculptures.
"Having arrived after two years of demanding research to create a scientific collaboration with the prestigious Henry Moore Foundation to bring the master's works back to Florence, about fifty years after the epochal exhibition at the Forte di Belvedere, is a source of pride and immense satisfaction. - he said Sergio Recovered -. “Henry Moore. The Sculptor's Drawing ”, is intended as a gift to the city which has suffered a dramatic pandemic crisis and which is coming out of this difficult situation with difficulty but with courage and pride. The presence at this historical moment of Henry Moore's works in Florence is also a reminder of the strength of art in the greatest human and social difficulties. Moore was an artistic beacon in the darkest days of European history and his works are a testament to that. We stubbornly believed in this project. We have said since 2018 that one of the lines of research of the new course of the Museo Novecento would be the graphic work of the artists of the twentieth century in a close link with the great Florentine Renaissance tradition .. And so it was ".
With "Henry Moore. The sculptor's drawing”The Museo Novecento is positioned internationally and does so with an exhibition prepared in the last two years by the director of the Florentine institution in collaboration with the scientific direction of the Moore Foundation.
The natural forms - rocks, pebbles, roots and trunks -, the animals, but also the skulls and then the relationship between the creator and the material, also exemplified by the drawings that portray the hands of the artist or the artist at work in the landscape , become the focus of the exhibition. Taking its cue from a reinterpretation of some central themes in Moore's production, the exhibition intends to offer an in-depth study on the value of drawing in his practice and on its relationship with sculpture.
In the room on the ground floor, the exceptional presence of an elephant skull from the artist's studio, on which Moore has constantly applied himself also to create a series of engravings, underlines the analysis of the forms from various points of view and with solutions multiple formals, perhaps born on the example of an identical graphic performance by Picasso, almost obsessed with the deconstructive possibility of the figure of a bull.
With "Henry Moore. The sculptor's drawing"A light is then lit on the graphic production of this protagonist of contemporary sculpture, who in the course of his intense activity has had the opportunity to deal not only with primitivist and extra-European sculpture and with the formal and linguistic experiments of the historical avant-gardes - above all the experiences of Brancusi and Picasso -, but also with the tradition of the great Italian art of the previous centuries, in particular with that of the masters active in Florence and Tuscany, the great architects of humanism in art.
The exhibition, significant for the presence of works and for the unprecedented nature of the choice, therefore strengthens Moore's bond with the territory, which still hosts monumental works by the artist and which hosted, in addition to the important exhibition of 1972, an exhibition in the Sala d'Arme of Palazzo Vecchio in 1987. It should also be remembered that Florence represented a salient and perhaps crucial moment in the formation of Moore's artistic genius, who arrived in the city for the first time in 1925, during his first study trip to Italy , realized thanks to a scholarship made available by the Royal College of Art. That was the opportunity to admire and observe the creations of the great masters of the past, including Giotto, Donatello, Masaccio and Michelangelo.
“The main purpose of my drawings is to help me sculpt. In fact, drawing is a means of generating ideas for sculpture, of extracting the initial idea from oneself, of organizing ideas and trying to develop them ... I also use drawing as a method of studying and observing nature (nude studies, shells, bones and more). I also sometimes draw for the sheer pleasure of doing it, ”said Moore.
Starting from an investigation into Henry Moore's relationship with the natural datum and with the underlying principles of rhythm and form, a narrative will be constructed that moves from the relationship between the artist's image and the rocky landscape, and then develops around the study of nature and the mutual mutations between the natural element and the human figure, up to the representation of the primordial form. The attention to the structural strength that underlies the different natural conformations, combined with the observation of human anatomy and the surrounding space, forms the basis of a survey of some iconographic motifs recurring in Moore's graphic production. Among these, the landscapes, rocks, trees, animals, monoliths, the artist's hands stand out.
The choice of themes is dictated by the desire to "dig" in an area of Henry Moore's work so far little investigated and less known to the general Italian public, whose knowledge is mainly linked to the sculptures representing recumbent figures and to the drawings of the Second World War . Linked by a common research on structure and form, the subjects identified allow us to re-read Moore's production revealing important references to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, including romantic landscape painting (the reference is, in particular, to drawings dedicated to atmospheric events, to Turner for example) and more purely scientific observation (think of the drawings dedicated to animals typical of a certain Anglo-Saxon culture). Finally, the motif of the hands allows us to explore another theme dear to the artist. For Moore, in fact, they are not only an indispensable instrument of artistic activity, but they are in turn a subject that allows to convey a wide spectrum of emotions, sensations, feelings. The origin of the creation and construction of form in space is also traced to the motif of the hand. The hands as a vehicle of the deep connection, beyond the gaze, between the natural object and the inner consciousness of it.
It was time now for the city of Florence, the cradle of humanism in art, to return to pay homage to Henry Moore, the modern sculptor who more than any other was able to interpret and develop the lessons of the great masters of the Renaissance, giving life to an experience new, different even if consequential in many respects to that of Masaccio and Donatello, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo.
"An art that today is even more exemplary than ever since, beyond arguing about its abstractionism or not, the presence of man is always felt, in his relationship with history and nature, with his torments and his concerns, with its conflicts and reconciliations ”, declared the director of the Museo Novecento.