A Scottish Minister Skates Into San Francisco

We don’t offer many art reviews at Wingtip’s Modern Gentleman’s Blog, but the occasion of the “Skating Minister” visiting the De Young Museum for the next few months is cause for a trip to Golden Gate Park. This 1790s painting, allegedly by Sir Henry Raeburn, is fully dubbed “The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch.” It normally resides at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, so it is a rare treat to lay eyes on this dapper gent.

Why do we like this painting? Well, if it’s not already evident by the top hat and tailored wool overcoat, we like the juxtaposition of a guy who’s dressed for the gala while playing on the loch. A modern-day equivalent would be something like Justice Ginsburg skateboarding in her robe and jabot. We also like how the reverend is trying his hardest to look like he’s slogging through manual labor, while the faint glimmer of an inner child is screaming to jump out of his hat.

“Masterpieces From the National Galleries of Scotland” opens this Saturday, March 7th, at the De Young, and runs through May 31. The show boasts of pieces by Botticelli, Vermeer, and Cezanne, but we’ll be there for the vintage-1790s menswear.

Advance tickets are available at deyoung.famsf.org.

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David is Wingtip's storyteller. In addition to editing the Modern Gentleman's Blog, he has written for Wax Poetics, The Source, SF Weekly, and the East Bay Express, and others. His inspirations include Rumble Fish, Paul's Boutique, and Balzac. He studied English at the City University of New York at Hunter College and journalism at the University of Southern California. He lives in Berzerkeley with his wife and daughter.

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