Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings
- The Hepworth Wakefield |
- 27 Oct 2012 – 3 Feb 2013
- Free to all.
- View venue & entry details
An astonishingly beautiful collection of sketches, revealing the celebrated sculptor’s powers as a draughtsperson
Barbara Hepworth’s friendship with surgeon Norman Capener led to a grand cross-disciplinary dialogue in the late forties. She invited the medic, who had operated on her daughter’s thigh, to her house at St Ives, where he learned to carve; he invited the sculptor into the operating theatre of the Exeter hospital where he worked so that the artist could observe surgeons at work.
She wrote of the experience: ‘in about the middle of 1947, a suggestion was made to me that I might watch an operation in a hospital. I expected that I should dislike it; but from the moment when I entered the operating theatre I became completely absorbed by two things: first, the extraordinary beauty of purpose and co-ordination between human beings all dedicated to the saving of life, and the way that unity of idea and purpose dictated a perfection of concentration, movement, and gesture, and secondly by the way this special grace (grace of mind and body) induced a spontaneous space composition, an articulated and animated kind of abstract sculpture very close to what I had been seeking in my own work.
'For two years I drew, not only in the operating theatres of hospitals, but from groups in my studio and groups observed around me.'
Free entry to all
Free exhibitions to all
Tue – Sun, 10am – 5pm
Open Bank Holidays and school holiday Mondays, 10am – 5pm
Third Thu of every month, 10 – 9pm
Closed 25 – 26 Dec
24 and 31 Dec, 10am – 3pm
What the critics say
Full of drama and passion
The strong and serious characters in Hepworth's Hospital Drawings could have stepped down from the walls of a Renaissance chapel
Hepworth’s drawings of surgeons and operating theatres occupy an outstanding place in her oeuvre