Figure

Eve

1928 (made)

Eric Gill

Height: 737 mm, Width: 152 mm, Depth: 152 mm

LOAN:TATE.194-2011 SCP

Eric Gill represented a new beginning for sculpture in Britain through his revolutionary attitude to making which utilised his skills as a letter cutter to revive the medieval practice of "direct carving". The usual method in the early 20th century was first to model the figure in clay, then to have the model cast in plaster, and finally to employ a technician to achieve the full-scale sculpture by means of measuring and pointing machines. A similar return to the direct hand carving of stone was being pioneered simultaneously in France by the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi. Gill’s carving technique directly influenced the work of Jacob Epstein (who learnt about the method from Gill during 1910-11), and indirectly that of Henri Gaudier-Breska, Frank Dobson, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. By the 1920s, and in addition to Gill's direct carving techniques, the new critical approach of writers such as Roger Fry and R.H. Wilenski released a number of British sculptors from a slavish veneration of Greek art. They began to question classical standards of beauty by looking afresh at the art of non-European cultures. Eric Gill's interest in the art of non-European cultures developed before the 1920s, largely through the influence of the philosopher and theologian Ananda Coomaraswamy. In 1908 Coomaraswamy's lecture on Indian Art made a deep impression on Gill. In this sculpture of Eve, Gill explores the relationship between the sacred and the profane, drawing in particular on traditional Indian sculpture.

Lent by TATE

Location: Sculpture, room 21, case WS

View this object on the V&A website