View my previous blog here:

I reply to all comments except spam, no matter how old!

Please ignore any email address displayed here! My email is shamp123 AT

Monday, 2 January 2012

Painting of the Month (25) Jan 2012: Henry Raeburn

The Skating Minister
The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch  better known as The Skating Minister was painted by Henry Raeburn in the 1790s and is considered as an icon of Scottish culture. It one of the most frequently reproduced works of art, particularly in the UK.
I don't know why, but it always make me smile when I see it. Perhaps it is the serene expression on the minister's face juxtaposed with the faintly comic pose.
The background of the picture is bleak and uninviting but the minister is gracefully making it look very easy to glide across the slippery surface. The theme of this picture might be said to be emblematic of the Scottish Enlightenment in Edinburgh at the time: the triumph of reason.


John said...

Happy New Year bazza!
Your knowledge of paintings is amazing! This one may be reproduced very often, but I have to admit that I have never seen it before! Thank you for enlarging my knowledge that little bit extra!

bazza said...

Happy New Year to you John.
I bet you will notice it again somewhere before long; that's how it goes. Although I have studied Art History at degree level I always research any pictures (or any subject) before posting. That's the pleasure for me and, although I really enjoy comments such as yours, I think I would still be posting even if nobody commented! I guess that you would feel the same about birds!

Kelly said...

If you glance at it quickly enough, like I did the first second seeing it, I thought he was going to fall forward. And then I realized he was skating and he was a holy dude and everything was going to be just peachy. I like the painting, btw.

David said...

Dear bazza,
Nice picture, although again one I wasn't familiar with. This is turning out to be quite an education, bazza!
Very Best Wishes and a Happy New Year to you,

bazza said...

Kezza: I wonder what he would have said if he had known he was a 'holy dude'!
Although not colourful or exciting the picture is very pleasing to look I think.
All the best for 2012, Kez.

bazza said...

David: Best wishes to you too, my friend.
Maybe I'm wrong about the iconic status of this painting. Anyway, it's profile has been raised a bit now!

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Happy New Year to you, Bazza!
The painting of the face and scarf exhibit skill, experience. I wonder if the hat's shadows are a 'reflective' of his movement; the pace of his skating?
It's as if he's emptying his mind of thoughts, choosing relaxation to contemplate nothing?!
I'm very familiar with this painting; nice to see it again. Okay, I'm done.

bazza said...

dcrelief: HNY to you too!
I thought the 'shadow ' of the hat was just a bit of badly done overpainting. However, there is so much good stuff that it doesn't really matter.
Thank you for your nice analysis!

klahanie said...

Hi bazza,
I find I quite like that painting by Henry Raeburn.
And the skating minister has made me think of ice hockey and Canada, where ice hockey is a religion.
Take care, time for me to get my skates on....

bazza said...

Gary: Yes, I have seen Ice Hockey in Canada and it is like a religion only with more brain damage. Slightly.

Anonymous said...

Hot from the desk of Sir Tom Eagerly:
Reminds me of my great uncle, Lord Eagerly of Neasden.
Splendid fellow, never sober. They say that I am like him in many ways. What can they mean Bazza?

bazza said...

I can't think what they could possibly mean Sir Tom!

THE SNEE said...

Amazing that I've never seen this painting! How is it even possible that I missed it? I really find it mesmerizing. I get why it makes you smile. There is definitely something special about it. Good to be back, Bazza.

bazza said...

Mrs Snee! How lovely to hear from you again. I am especially happy that I have introduced you to this lovely painting. Welcome back to the Blogosphere.

Seema B Menon said...

That looks so much like a photo! Amazing!

bazza said...

Hi Seema: I think that painting pre-dates photography! Nice to hear from you again. Hope you and family are all well.