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The Skaters, 1889

  • etching, paper
  • 175 x 232 mm
  • Inv. 1998-B-65

Public Domain

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The winter landscape "The Skaters" was probably inspired by the Leopold Park near the home of Ensor's friend Ernest Rousseau in Brussels. On the right, one recognises the imposing acacia that still grows in the park. The structures on the right and the vista in the distance are imaginary and may have been borrowed from another environment. To achieve the effect of a dark winter sky, Ensor had the copper plate impregnated with sulphuric acid. The funny silhouettes of the skating figures are reminiscent of the engraving "The Skaters on Lake Ladoga" by Gustave Doré, depicted in the Histoire dramatique, pittoresque et caricaturale de la Sainte Russie (Paris, 1854). The 2nd state of the print "The Skaters" was printed in 1906 in the album of the Antwerp artist association L’Art contemporain.


James Ensor RKD VIAF Wikidata
Ostend 1860 - Ostend 1949

Title The Skaters
Date 1889
Period 19th century
Medium and support etching AAT
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings signature and year bottom right: Ensor 1889
inscription on the reverse: AT
inscription on the reverse: D. 65
Collection print room
Object type etching AAT
Inventory number 1998-B-65
Acquisition credit purchase
Taevernier, Auguste (coll.)
Current whereabouts Work currently not on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300189808 figures (representations) AAT
300056485 fantastic art AAT
300015636 landscapes AAT
Keywords Iconclass 23D41 winter, 'Hyems'; 'Inverno' (Ripa) Iconclass
25G3 trees Iconclass
26D frost, freezing weather Iconclass
26D4 ice ~ freezing weather Iconclass
31A2731 falling Iconclass
31A71 male sex; man Iconclass
31A72 female sex; woman Iconclass
43C244 skates (winter sports) Iconclass
School / Style phantasy
satire (artistic device) AAT
Henri Leys, Henri de Braekeleer, James Ensor / Loys Delteil. - Paris : Chez l'Auteur, 1925 (nr. 65)
James Ensor : Catalogue illustré de ses gravures ; Leur description critique et l'inventaire des plaques = Geïllustreerde catalogus van zijn gravures ; Hun kritische beschrijving en inventaris van de platen = Illustrated catalogue of his engravings ; Their critical description and inventary of the plates / Auguste Taevernier. - Ledeberg (Gent) : Erasmus Boekhandel bv Amsterdam, 1973 (nr. 65)
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