Sculpture Journal

Henry Moore, Michael Ayrton and Giovanni Pisano: the reception of medieval sculpture

Sculpture Journal (2014), 23, (3), 379–392.

Abstract

This article explores an outstanding case in the reception of medieval sculpture during the twentieth century. It begins with an examination of a monograph on Giovanni Pisano published in 1970, a joint effort by Henry Moore and Michael Ayrton, who wrote the introduction and the main text, respectively. Analysing the way in which both artists became familiar with Pisano’s sculpture, the article addresses the role of photography in making his work properly accessible, and in its interpretation. Ayrton’s contribution is considered in relation to a painted tribute to Pisano that he executed in 1948, a photographic exhibition he arranged in 1951 and a lecture he delivered to accompany it. The article concludes with an examination of Moore’s reaction to Pisano’s work, starting from the late sculpture Mother and Child: Pisano (1976), and on to a consideration of Moore’s writings, in order to demonstrate the impact on Moore of Pisano’s articulation of the human figure.

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Author details

Casini, Giovanni