Die große Ruhende

Heinz Leinfellner, 1964/65

From the 1940s onwards, Leinfellner worked on the motif of reclining or resting figures, a truly classic theme in art since antiquity. Die große Ruhende is composed of roughly hewn, simplified individual shapes. These parts, however, combine quite naturally into an accurate depiction of the relaxed posture, merging into a natural whole. The arms, legs, torso and head all point in different directions and so form part of a balanced composition, creating a perfect synthesis between artistic and natural form.

The stone sculpture "Large dormant" at the foot of the stairway to heaven in the Pheasant Garden. The stone sculpture "Large dormant" at the foot of the stairway to heaven in the Pheasant Garden.

Image Credits


Peter Peer

Location on map

Position 5


Artothek des Bundes

Artist biography

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About the sculpture

Heinz Leinfellner dealt with the motif of resting or “dormant” figures as early as in the 1940s. It has been a rather classical topic in art since ancient times, fascinating both painters and sculptors equally. As regards the 20th century, Henry Moore’s work was a prime example. Of all basic postures of the human figure, standing, sitting and resting, Moore saw the biggest potential for the sculptor in the resting position as, in relation to composition and treatment of space it allowed for the highest degree of freedom.

Just like the great Englishman, Leinfellner too felt obliged to the trends of classical modernism, though he stylistically varied his “dormants” in the course of the decades. At the beginning, there were neo-classicist figures showing some proximity to Aristide Maillol’s sculptural work. They were followed by works, which with their pastous-lively surface, wrapped voluminous extremities and idiosyncratically proportioned body parts in a flickering aura, reminding us very much of Matisse’s sculptures.

He intensively occupies himself with primitive art, whereas he came to similar solutions as Picasso and André Derain. In the end, his path led to the cubist-constructivist language of forms, which sustainably coined the image of Austrian post-war sculpture. Finding exemplary expression in the works of Fritz Wotruba amongst others (Leinfellner was his colleague and assistant).

Leinfellner’s “Große Ruhende” (Large Dormant) is composed of roughly trimmed, geometrically simplified individual shapes that in the precise capture of the relaxed posture, however, combine to a natural whole. The artist did not forget to create a well-balanced composition as to the various directions in which arms, legs, torso and head point, thereby creating a perfect synthesis between art and natural form.