Yesterday we went to Compton Verney, a country house which has been turned into an 'art destination', housing a permanent collection and excellent temporary exhibitions. The weather was good, and the exhibition is one which we would not miss, as it involves two of the artists we both have admired for many decades: Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore. I find that each has indeed influenced my own work more profoundly than I had realised.
It is such a bonus to have so close together two excellent exhibitions about Moore's work, the first being at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford: Francis Bacon/ Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone. I wrote a post about our visit, and Eirene also wrote a post in A Place called Space.
The grounds of Compton Verney have several examples of Rodin's and Moore's work, and we would have lingered longer had the wind not been so biting as we made our wandering way to the house itself. I always enjoy the four sphinxes on the bridge across the lake - they of course are neither Rodin nor Moore, but permanent delights.
The first Moore is on the car park side of the lake, and affords a tantalising view across to the other pieces and to the house.
Rodin: Cybele - I just love that folded back arm of hers.
Moore: Seated woman
Moore: Three piece sculpture: Vertebrae with a view to The arch and Rodin's Jean d'Aire, Monumental Nude on the near bank.
We had a lovely light lunch in the restaurant before embarking on the exhibition proper indoors. Then on to several rooms of sculptures and drawings. There is also a display containing fascinating objects from the two artists' own collections: examples of classical art, ethnic artefacts, and natural forms such as shells and stones. It was such a joy to re-encounter familiar pieces, and to find completely new works which took my breath away, such as this bronze by Moore:
Henry Moore: Working Model for Mother and Child: Upright (image from here, although the piece in the exhibition was part of the Henry Moore Foundation's collection). I was entranced by this piece in particular because to me she looks as if she is singing with her open mouth, and that the 'child' resembles an instrument such as a harp (the right hand being well placed to be pausing from playing such). I also very much like the marks on the lower body, and the snail-shell-like curves of the dress at the bottom back.
I love Moore's work for its stillness, and Rodin's for the gestures. The examples chosen throughout the exhibition are wonderfully complementary and we found the whole a thoroughly enriching experience.
Rodin: Monument to the Burghers of Calais from their normal place near the Houses of Parliament in London.