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Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Henry Moore (1898-1986)

Madonna and Child

Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Madonna and Child
signed 'Moore' (on the back)
bronze with green and black patina
Height: 5¾ in. (14.6 cm.)
Conceived in 1943; this bronze version cast during the artist's lifetime
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 26 June 1996, lot 238.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
D. Sylvester, ed., Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawing 1921-1948, London, 1969, vol. I, no. 223 (terracotta version illustrated, p. 138). R. Melville, Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970, p. 351, no. 308 (another cast illustrated).
D. Mitchinson, ed., Henry Moore Sculpture with Comments by the Artist, London, 1981, p. 310, no. 158 (another cast illustrated, p. 91).
D. Sylvester, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1921-48, London, 1988, vol. I, p. 13, no. 223 (terracotta version illustrated, p. 138).

Lot Essay

In 1943 The Reverend Walter Hussey requested Henry Moore execute a monumental sculpture of the Madonna and Child for the Church of St. Matthew's, Northampton and the present work is a one of the maquettes that Moore made while he was working out ideas for this commission. Although the mother and child theme had been recurrent in Moore's work he found the implications of a religious subject to be challenging. He called the Northampton Madonna, "one of the most difficult and heart-searching sculptures that I have ever tried to do" (quoted in A.G. Wilkinson, The Drawings of Henry Moore, New York, 1984, p. 290). As Moore later recalled, he had to consider "in what ways a Madonna and Child differs from a carving of just a mother and child--that is by considering how in my opinion religious art differs from secular art. It is not easy to describe in words what this difference is, except by saying in general terms that the Madonna and Child should have an austerity and a nobility, and some touch of grandeur (even hieratic aloofness) which is missing in the every day mother and child idea" (quoted in D. Mitchinson, op.cit., p. 90).

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