This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Henry Moore inspired by maths

Henry Moore sculpture

Stringed Relief, reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation

By James Dacey

My first experience of Henry Moore’s sculptures came from several visits to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, located near where I grew up in the north of England. As a kid on a day trip with my parents, I was no art critic. But I was always fascinated by Moore’s looming bronze figures dotted across the rolling Yorkshire hillside. Within the works, I could see both the abstract body parts of a giant metal person, but also what appeared to be stark geometric shapes.

So, I was interested to hear the news that a new exhibition in London is celebrating Moore’s fascination with mathematics. The exhibition is being held jointly by the Royal Society and the Science Museum, and it showcases some of Moore’s lesser-known sculptures that were directly inspired by maths, including the work above, Stringed Relief. According to the exhibition catalogue, Moore (1898–1986) stated on several occasions that the use of string in his sculpture, which he started in 1937, was influenced by seeing models at the Science Museum in London.

I was fascinated by the mathematical models I saw there, which had been made to illustrate the difference of the form that is halfway between a square and a circle. One model had a square at one end with 20 holes along each side…Through these holes rings were threaded and lead to a circle with the same number of holes at the other end. A plane interposed through the middle shows the form that is halfway between a square and a circle…It wasn’t the scientific study of these models but the ability to look through the strings as with a bird cage and see one form within the other which excited me.

The exhibition, Intersections: Henry Moore and Stringed Surfaces, is open to the public now and it will run until 20 June.

Moore is by no means the only artist to have drawn inspiration from the ideas of science. One high-profile contemporary example is the British artist Anthony Gormley, who has created several sculptures inspired by the theory of quantum mechanics. It has also been suggested that Picasso’s development of the Cubist style of painting was informed by a similar line of thinking to Einstein’s during the formulation of the theory of relativity.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text