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Large reclining figure and sitting couple on a bench

by Michael Ford last modified 15 May, 2020 11:30 AM

We continue our tour of the Cathedral's exhibits with 2 works that are sitting down on the job.

Henry Moore’s Large Reclining Figure situated outside our Cathedral, like many of his sculptures of human figures, has a sense of solidity. It is not fragile, but its mass is strangely shaped and pierced, it lies down awkwardly, it seems perhaps to be female, with breasts and wide hips.

If it were carved from wood, it might remind us of the strange shapes driftwood can take, as in the pieces which Moore kept in his studio. To us it may appear not to be at ease with itself and yet still, fundamentally, to be a part of nature, to be of the earth. It may also suggest the work we each have to undertake to be at home in our physical selves.

Large reclining figure and... Sitting Couple On A Bench- courtesy @SculpTourFav on Twitter
Sitting Couple On A Bench courtesy @SculpTourFav on Twitter

Lynn Chadwick’s ‘Sitting Couple on Bench’, also outside the cathedral, represents us in relationship. In our survey of human figures in this exhibition we have looked at figures in isolation, and yet that is not the way in which we learn to become human. Chadwick is more interested in body language than facial expression and in looking at this work we might begin by asking what the body language says to us about this relationship.

We are who we are because of all the relationships which have formed us and go on forming us. Our relationships with our environment are important but without human communion we will not know what to do with the information that surrounds us. And without human love we will not learn to be ourselves. And on a more theological note, we should be reminded in this place that Christianity talks not of God as an isolated being, but of God as Being in Relationship - the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The tour starts here.

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