Just a short walk beyond the Museum for the Cultural History of Coffee (I couldn't do without a museum of coffee culture, could you?), a few steps from the yachts berthed on Lake Zurich, two bronze shapes graze upon a green hillock: Henry Moore's beautiful "Sheep -Piece".
Moore himself recorded:
I have always liked sheep, and there is one big sculpture of mine that I called Sheep Piece because I placed it in a field and the sheep enjoyed it and the lambs played around it. Sheep are just the right size for the kind of landscape setting that I like for my sculptures, a horse or a cow would reduce the sense of monumentality. Perhaps the sheep also belong to the landscape of my boyhood in Yorkshire.
Henry Moore quoted in Henry Moore’s Sheep Sketchbook, Henry Moore and Kenneth Clark, Thames and Hudson, London 1980.
There are no sheep sheltering under the Zurich piece, though children, instead of lambs, cannot resist its charm.
The sculpture, from 1971/'72, was put on display here in 1976 for a Moore exhibtion at the lakeside that attracted 74,000 visitors. A private person bought it and gave it to the city. And here it still stands, large and brooding, soaking up the sunrays, or heaped with snow, or rain running off its sleek surface. Day and night, everyday, it suffers whatever the elements throw at it, whatever indignity humans inflict upon it, its gentle, curved forms a reminder of the silent animals that we admire but choose to eat.