Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sir Henry Raeburn and The Skating Minister

'The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch
(The Skating Minister)' (1790s) by Sir Henry Raeburn;
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Sir Henry Raeburn was born on March 4, 1756, so I knew right away what painting to post for today. I could have chosen another one, because he has made some nice portraits and sometimes I like it better to post a lesser known painting. Because when you say Raeburn, you think of the skating minister. The reason why I went ahead and chose this painting anyway, is because I like it and I've wondered about the subject choice and setting. When you're a portrait painter I can imagine that you want to portray a minister but you would have him sit down or portray him in a serious or respectful manner. But skating ... So for this post I searched a bit further and read the Wikipedia page dedicated to this painting. The clergyman he portrayed here is Reverend Robert Walker. The reason why you see him skating is because he was a member of the Edinbergh skating club. It was the first figure skating club in the world. The setting of this painting is Duddingston Loch. Furthermore I read that it was commonly believed that Raeburn was less succesful in painting female portraits but if I wouldn't have used the skating minister for this post, I would have posted this painting of a girl sketching. I think it is beautiful.

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