Wednesday, September 22, 2010


A Chac Mool stone statue at Chichen Itza site, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. This reclining Toltec-Maya figure influenced Moore's sculpture.

Today's art work to be critiqued will be "The Archer" by sculptor Henry Moore.Henry Moore sculpture exhibited at the Toronto City Hall Plaza, View looking North, Image Probably Three Way Piece No. 2 (The Archer) (1964-65), bronze.

The ARcher is a strong abstract sculpture made of patina'd bronze, slightly greening like copper. This sculpture is outside the Toronto City Hall, north side.. The shape of the work is almost cubist-like, blockish. The Archer is a dramatic statement of a stylized rendering of the creative impetus of Sir Henry Moore.

The Archer is strongly Modern art, abstract Moore having been influence by the Parisian artists of the 20th century such as Picasso, George Braque, Jean Arp and Alberto Giacometti.

The one problem I have with the work is that there is not a lot of free space in the sculpture; in other words it is very blocky. The natural form of rocks that Moore models frequently seems to reflect the rock-like formation found in Moore's studio.

As a sculpture, the dynamics could be less "nuclear latent" and more fluid. It sort of powers me that the power is not more fluid. I don't know why I do not appreciate the pent-up energy as much as the "energy-in-flight" as I would have typically have considered most works with the title "Archer". However, the work is conveying that time in the 60's and is undoubtly making an artistic statement regarding the nuclear state of affairs in particular, the Cold War, and the seeming "ugliness" this promoted worldwide. To bad the art world had to pickup on the ugly shape of the unrealized piece of rock which is bronze. It would be invigorating to see something more linear and flowing but this is not Moore's style so I wont get too callous in this discussion.

As far as the technical side of the work it is par excellent. The man is a genius with bronze. A master. Seeing as he had studied with so many high caliber artists and being the world class artist that Henry Moore is certainly would call for nothing less. Technically Moore is impeccable. I particularly love the smooth flowing shapes of most of his work. Not so flowing, of course in the Archer, which I have mentioned before is too "blocky" to represent a true Henry Moore.

The song by Murray McLaughlin "Down By The Henry Moore" is either talking about The Archer or the other works outside on the lawn of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Please google this song! You'll find it may give me the answer (never mind, I'll do that!).

Go to Toronto, visit the AGO and the Toronto City Hall and view for yourself these dramatic works. Sense their fine sensuality. Enjoy the richness of being one with these anthropomorphic shapes, as I so do love the animal form found in nature. The personification of matter making inanimate somehow more human by creating an attachment through form is a sculptural idea handed down from the Greeks. Oh to be so bold as to suggest that Moore is not one of my favoured sculptors. I adore Henry Moore. Just not too crazy about The Archer! It's ok...

Please read the following important information on Henry Moore by Wikipedia...(of course I am doing much more research on Henry Moore since my first introduction in High School circa THE SEVENTIES. Ok! Enjoy Henry Moore; he's well worth it!


"Henry Moore Henry Spencer Moore OM CH FBA (30 July 1898 – 31 August 1986) was an English sculptor and artist. He was best known for his abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art".Wikipediain

1919 he became the first student of sculpture at the Leeds School of Art (now Leeds College of Art),

In 1921, Moore won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London, where his friend Hepworth had gone the year before. While in London, Moore extended his knowledge of primitive art and sculpture, studying the ethnographic collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

The early sculptures of both Moore and Hepworth follow the standard romantic Victorian style, and include natural forms, landscapes and figurative modelling of animals. Moore later became uncomfortable with classically derived ideals; his later familiarity with primitivism and the influence of sculptors such as Constantin Brancusi, Jacob Epstein and Frank Dobson led him to the method of direct carving, in which imperfections in the material and marks left by tools became part of the finished sculpture.

Moore was in conflict with academic tutors who did not appreciate such a modern approach. During one exercise set by Derwent Wood (the professor of sculpture at the Royal College), Moore was asked to reproduce a marble relief of Domenico Rosselli's The Virgin and Child[8] by first modelling the relief in plaster, then reproducing it in marble using the mechanical technique of "pointing". Instead, he carved the relief directly, even marking the surface to simulate the prick marks that would have been left by the pointing machine.

In 1924, Moore won a six-month travelling scholarship which he spent in Northern Italy studying the great works of Michelangelo, Giotto di Bondone, Giovanni Pisano and several other Old Masters. During this period he also visited Paris, took advantage of the timed-sketching classes at the Académie Colarossi, and viewed, in the Louvre, a plaster cast of a Toltec-Maya sculptural form, the Chac Mool. The reclining figure was to have a profound effect upon Moore's work, becoming the primary motif of his sculpture.[9On returning to London, Moore undertook a seven-year teaching post at the Royal College of Art.
In 1932, Moore took up a post as the Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art.[12

Artistically, Moore, Hepworth and other members of the The Seven and Five Society would develop steadily more abstract work,

partly influenced by their frequent trips to Paris and their contact with leading progressive artists, notably Pablo Picasso, George Braque, Jean Arp and Alberto Giacometti. Moore flirted with Surrealism, joining Paul Nash's modern art movement, the "Unit One Group", in 1933.

Moore gradually transitioned from direct carving to casting in bronze, modelling preliminary maquettes in clay or plaster.

Moore turned down a knighthood in 1951 because he felt that the bestowal would lead to a perception of him as an establishment figure and that "such a title might tend to cut me off from fellow artists whose work has aims similar to mine

He was awarded the Companion of Honour in 1955 and the Order of Merit in 1963. He was a trustee of both the National Gallery and Tate Gallery.[31


"Down By The Henry Moore" by Murray McLaughlin song


  1. Down by the Henry Moore by Murray McLaughlin (song)

  2. Now back to Chichen I was saying I think I know why they (the Chac Mooi) are posed like want to know email me! I'll tell you why. It is something quite interesting...yes indeed!

  3. Chac Mool from Chichen Itza...It's Chichen Thursday ON WEDNESDAY!

  4. WoW I love Chac Mools!