Reclining Figure, like the majority of Moore’s public works in cities around the world, is based on the human figure—usually standing, sitting, or most often, reclining on a plinth. No other sculptor’s imagination was more manifestly connected to his past than Moore’s. His work consistently refers to women like his mother, a stalwart matriarch from a mining town who always nurtured and sheltered her family.
Moore’s sculptural process was one of modeling and smoothing the “body” of a single mass rather than constructing forms. His impulse was to preserve the traditional values of carving and casting that went back to his Yorkshire childhood and further to its ancient roots. Vital and mysterious, like the chthonic spirit embodied in the dolmens of Stonehenge, Moore’s reclining female forms are, the artist believed, universal shapes to which everyone is subconsciously conditioned to respond.