The two and three piece sculptures were experiments and you must experiment. You do things in which you eliminate something which is perhaps essential, but to learn how essential it is you leave it out. The space then becomes very significant . . . If you are doing a reclining figure you just do the head and the legs. You leave space for the body, imagining the other part even though it isn't there. The space then becomes very expressive and you have to get it just right . . .
Moore's desire to open up the bulk of a sculpture was a continuing quest, beginning with his carving holes in stone or wood. But working with stone and wood, both being dense and stable, necessitates reverence for the integrity of the internal structure. Bronze has no such limitations. Modelling with clay and then casting in bronze enabled Moore to investigate each form thoroughly, creating openings and outlines, individual elements that together make up the whole.
During his college years, Moore spent many hours in the British Museum and was particularly moved by the solid powerful figures in the ethnographic collection, an area of interest which, unlike Ancient Greek of Renaissance art, did not feature very strongly in the art history teaching at the time.
Between 1949 and 1951 an exhibition of Moore's work toured Europe. Henry and Irina visited Greece in 1950 as the exhibition reached Athens. Moore, captivated by the light, was thoroughly enthused by sites such as the Acropolis and Mycenae. Soon the stimulation of the excursion filtered into his work: several sculptures appear with drapery, including Draped Reclining Woman 1957-58.