Male Standing Figure – The Priest
About the work
Place: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, 22-26 Whitehall
Carved from palisandre, the finest type of rosewood characterised by variations of deep purple, brown and red, Male Standing Figure – The Priest by Ronald Moody embodies confidence and authority. Echoing the column of wood from which it was carved, the robust figure stands with his feet firmly planted on a wooden base, the muscular forms of his legs swathed in a long piece of fabric and his arms held closely to his body. Expressing an air of Zen-like solemnity, the figure seems caught in a moment of contemplation or prayer.
Moody carved this sculpture at his studio at 134 rue de la Tombe-Issoire, Paris, between May and June in 1939. Having moved to the city in the previous year, he enjoyed a productive period of work, until 1940 when he was forced to flee just before Paris fell to the Nazis. Travelling over the Pyrenees into Spain, Moody reached England in October 1941. While many of his sculptures were abandoned in Paris, some, including Male Standing Figure – The Priest, and his carving tools, were hidden in the studio of his friend, the artist Kobus Hooykaas. After the War, Moody retrieved his works and in November 1950, a solo exhibition of his work was held at the Galerie Apollinaire in London. The Ministry of Works purchased this sculpture from the exhibition and since then, the work has been displayed in British government buildings in London. In 2003 the sculpture formed part of a new display of Moody’s work at Tate Britain; and in 2019, it featured in the exhibition, Get Up Stand Up Now at Somerset House, London.
About the artist
Ronald Moody (1910 - 1984)
- Male Standing Figure – The Priest
- Wooden figurine
- height: 75.00 cm, width: 27.00 cm
- Purchased from Galerie Apollinaire, November 1950
- GAC number