Ronald Moody’s Midonz

Inspired by the art of Ancient Egypt, Ronald Clive Moody completed his first wood carving Wohin in 1935. He conceived Midonz (1937) and Tacet (1938) later as counterparts to Wohin. Each sculpture took almost a year to complete. In photographs of the 1939 exhibit Moody’s carvings dominate the space – the timeless and monumental Midonz towers over visitors in the exhibit’s central gallery. After the exhibit closed Midonz was somehow separated from Moody’s other sculptures. Sixty years later Moody’s niece tracked the sculpture down in US gallery storage.

Ronald Moody. Midonz, 1937. Tate Britain. © Estate of Ronald Moody. Image used with permission of Tate images.

Midonz is a 1937 work by Moody that was lost for nearly 50 years after being shown in Baltimore in 1939. The piece is said to almost glow in person. The grain animates the piece so that as you look upon it the facial expression subtly changes. One of the most amazing qualities about Midonz is the timeless serenity it exudes.

Midonz is a part of a trinity of Heroic sculptures created by Moody in the 1930s. The trinity includes Wohin (1935) and Tacet (1938). It is thought Moody made them from the same piece of elm wood. All three sculptures are interconnected: Midonz has been described as “the female counterpart to Wohin while it has also been said “Tacet is, in turn clearly the male counterpart of Midonz.” They display Moody’s “passionate concern with the exploration of the inner life of man and the possibilities of evolution through self-awareness.”

Work Cited

Moody, Cynthia. “Midonz.” Transition, no. 77 (1998): 10-18. doi:10.2307/2903197.

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