Moore’s series of Torsos of the mid-1960s underscores his fascination with the human form as well as its anthropomorphic possibilities, here equally evoking the shape of the human figure and the form of a branching tree trunk. As the artist once stated, "Trunks of trees are very human. A branch that comes out from the main trunk is like an arm coming out from a body” (quoted in Alan G. Wilkinson, ed., Henry Moore, Writings and Conversations, Aldershot, 2002, p. 240). The work also shares features with other motifs that Moore explored around this time, including his Three Way compositions, works distinctly intended to be observed from multiple angles, as well as his Compact Forms, dense sculptures evoking recoiled, inward motion.
His series of Torsos also underscore his love for ancient monuments and in particular his lifelong admiration for Stonehenge, if not in shape then in scale. Since his childhood Moore had been fascinated by the ancient ruin and remembered his visit in the early 1920s to the site of the primeval monoliths in Salisbury as follows: "As it was a clear evening I got to Stonehenge and saw it by moonlight. I was alone and tremendously impressed. (Moonlight, as you know, enlarges everything, and the mysterious depths and distances made it seem enormous.) I went again the next morning, it was still very impressive, but that first moonlight visit remained for years my idea of Stonehenge" (quoted in David Sylvester, ed., Henry Moore Sculpture and Drawings, 1921-48, London, 1957, p. 3).
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