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Costa/Blum

Joel Costa
Prof. Blum
Art Appreciation
February 9, 2009

Henry Moores The Sculptors Aims

Accomplished artist Henry Moore first introduces his essay on The Sculptors
Aims by naming a few certain qualities in sculpture he feels are fundamentally
important. The first quality he describes is truth to material, or the constructive and
creative use of the individual qualities of a sculptors material of choice, such as wood or
clay, in such a way that it will not be falsified it or forced it beyond its capacity. In an
example of what he means, the artist tells us that one should not falsify hard and
concentrated stone to look like soft flesh; it should rather be kept hard, tense and stony,
for such are the unique qualities of the material. He then explains the need for full
three-dimensional realization, or the necessity, in sculpture, to be in the round: to be
capable of being seen through every angle, where no two points of view are alike, and to
successfully relate to the real space that surrounds it. According to the author, only to
make relief shapes on the surface of the block is to forgo the full power of expression of
sculpture.
Moore goes on to say that asymmetry is not to be shunned in sculpture, since it
provides viewers with more points of view and expresses a desire for the organic, rather
than geometric. He observes how organic forms lose their perfect symmetry in reacting

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to the environment, growth and gravity. Another quality the artist deems essential is the
observation of natural objects such as the human figure, pebbles, rocks, bones, trees
and shells, with all their shapes and rhythms, in order to inform the work of the sculptor.
It is at this point in the essay that the author takes a slightly different direction,
ending his discussion of formal qualities in order to describe more subjective qualities,
qualities of vision and expression. He states that his aim in work is to combine as
intensely as possible the abstract principles of sculpture along with the realization of my
idea. Since all art is an abstraction to some degree, the abstract qualities of art and the
design and arrangement of its visual elements are of critical importance, but according to
Moore, of equal importance is the psychological, human element that the art embodies.
He states that, if both abstract and human elements are welded together in a work, it
must have a fuller, deeper meaning.
Moore then conveys what he feels are the human elements in a work of art,
particularly sculpture. He first states that a work must first have a vitality of its own,
not a reflection of the vitality of life, as in a sculpture that depicts some form of
movement, dancing, action, etc., but a certain life of its own, a certain dynamic presence,
something that almost makes it a living piece of art. Moore states that beauty, in the
later Greek or Renaissance sense, is not the aim in my sculpture, for he feels that more
important than beauty of expression, which tries to please the senses, is power of
expression, which moves the human soul, and this, I feel, is the main principle that
directed Henry Moores work. His art, as all art should be, in my particular point of view,
does not aim to be simply pretty to look at, a nice escape from life, or a sort of
anesthetic to the real life that is happening around us, but its goal is rather to confront the

Costa/Blum

harsh realities, to point to truth, to convey deep human emotion and the human condition,
to move the human soul and express the significance of human life, to inspire and
stimulate human thought and feeling There are many ways to put it, but Moore put it
best when he wrote that in power of expression, there is a spiritual vitality which for me
is more moving and goes deeper than the senses.