Maquette for Fallen Warrior
1956, cast 1956–7
140 x 155 x 265 mm
Presented by Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler in 1974, accessioned 1994
Number 2 in an edition of 10 plus 1 artist’s copy
Technique and condition
The level of detail on the surface of the bronze sculpture suggests that the traditional lost wax technique was used for casting. The flange to the left of the head suggests that Moore utilised a casting overflow made during the creation of the plaster copy and, instead of removing it, incorporated it into the form. There are a few chasing marks on the right leg indicating where casting flashes were removed before the patina was applied.
The neck leads to a heavily defined chest with clearly incised fan-shaped pectoral muscles, each marked with a shallow, circular indentation denoting nipples (fig.3). However, while the left pectoral appears smooth and muscular, the surface of the right muscle is rough, giving the impression that it is sunken and that bones are pushing against the skin. From these differing forms the stomach swells to a rounded peak, and is capped with a small round indentation denoting the navel. Moving along the length of the body the stomach then dips sharply to the figure’s genitalia. The weight of the sculpture seems to have amassed in the stomach and hip areas, which are made of curved and rounded forms. The heavy middle of the figure is accentuated by the slender limbs.
From the back of the sculpture the right shoulder appears to be anatomically incorrect; the shoulder socket seems to have been stretched so that it protrudes sideways, away from the body. The skinny upper arm extends from this socket to the elbow below, which is bent so that the hand, the fingers of which are curled into a fist, is wedged between the base and the right buttock (fig.4). The meager left arm is curved unnaturally from the shoulder and extends on a downward diagonal over the upper tier of the base. The left elbow rests on the lower step where the forearm is extended pointing towards to the right-hand edge. The arm does not sit flush on the base and a small gap can be seen between the base and the wrist. The hand is mitten-shaped, and although five fingers have been suggested by incised lines, none of the fingers have been individually separated.
At the time Maquette for Fallen Warrior was created, Moore rarely made preparatory drawings for specific sculptures, preferring instead to sketch general ideas and work directly in plaster, utilising his accumulated knowledge of bodily forms to make his initial three-dimensional models. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify drawings that illuminate the evolution of Moore’s warrior sculptures. In particular, a sketch titled Figure Studies 1955–6 (fig.6) contains two pen and ink drawings of supine figures with raised arms and bent knees.
It is probable that Moore made his plaster model of Maquette for Fallen Warrior (fig.7) in his maquette studio in the grounds of his home, Hoglands, at Perry Green in Hertfordshire. The conservator at the Henry Moore Foundation, James Copper, has suggested that this sculpture developed from (or concurrently with) Maquette for Seated Woman (fig.8).1 It is known that Moore often recycled his plaster maquettes, and the position of the warrior’s legs, bulbous stomach and the sharp cuts between the thigh and the buttock all correspond to the features of the seated figure. Having made Maquette for Seated Woman in plaster, it would not have been difficult to make a copy, and remodel the arms and head in order to reconfigure the work as a fallen male. According to Moore, ‘The advantage of using plaster is that it can be both built up, as in modelling, or cut down, in the way you carve stone or wood’.2 Due to the nature of the material, Moore would have been able to file away the breasts and reconfigure the chest of the maquette and model the figure’s penis. The fact that Moore’s sketches of prostrate figures appear alongside drawings of seated women in Figure Studies indicates that he was thinking about these two different compositional forms simultaneously in 1955–6. Maquette for Seated Woman was cast in a bronze edition of nine in 1956, an example of which is held in the collection of the Henry Moore Foundation; it was enlarged in 1957 as Seated Woman (Tate T02279).
The purpose of making a plaster maquette is to consider the form and composition of the sculpture before making a final, larger plaster version that can then be used to cast the sculpture in bronze. A photograph of Moore in his studio shows the completed full-size plaster version of the sculpture (fig.9). However, it seems that having completed this larger version Moore was dissatisfied with the final result because he changed the subject from that of a fallen figure, whose body is in contact with the ground, to a falling figure, which appears suspended in motion while tumbling backwards. The large bronze sculpture Falling Warrior 1956–7 (Tate T02278; fig.10) was the result of this change. Moore later explained that:
In his coal mining drawings Moore undertook his first sustained examination of the male figure. The figure second from bottom on the left side of Miners at Work 1942 (fig.12) might be regarded as a graphic precursor to the figure in Maquette for Fallen Warrior: this figure is lying on his side, with his right arm lifted above his head. His twisted and curved body is tucked into a compact space and looking upwards he seems to be conscious that the roof could collapse. Kenneth Clark, who was Director of the National Gallery when he appointed Moore as an Official War Artist, later reflected that ‘such a figure as the fallen warrior would not have come into existence with out the drawings of miners working on their backs’.12
The injured or traumatised male body was an infrequent but recurring subject in Moore’s work. Following his drawings of sleeping and dying figures of the 1940s, the painted plaster sculpture Reclining Warrior 1953 (fig.14), which was also cast in bronze, signals the start of Moore’s engagement with the male warrior subject in three-dimensional form. In 1955 Moore explained:
Cardinal suggested that the broken and fragmentary nature of the Greek examples in the British Museum and elsewhere was a particular inspiration to Moore. As demonstrated in the incomplete bodies of Reclining Warrior and Warrior with Shield ‘fragmentariness is itself an integral part of Moore’s creative vocabulary’.31 This damage to the body may have resonated with Moore when making his wounded warriors.
How to cite
Alice Correia, ‘Maquette for Fallen Warrior 1956, cast 1956–7 by Henry Moore OM, CH’, catalogue entry, February 2013, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www