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Our National Winter Exercise--Skating

Winslow Homer

American Art

Homer’s artistic growth is signaled here by his interest in the figure as a major design element. The physical grace and control required for skating are conveyed in the massing of the three prominent figures, which create a strong diagonal that bisects the composition. Their forms parallel each other, governing and unifying the overall compositional rhythm. Such visual harmonies lend a stylish flair to the engraving, in which the eye is drawn from the dainty pointed feet of the two main skaters to the fluttering tips of their ribbons and veiling. These elegant women contrast vividly with the fallen skater on the right, with hoop skirt upturned and legs to the sky. Implicit in the scene are the opportunities for romance, which were noted in the magazine.

MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1866
DIMENSIONS Image: 13 7/8 x 20 1/4 in. (35.2 x 51.4 cm) Sheet: 15 3/4 x 22 in. (40 x 55.9 cm) Frame: 22 3/4 x 28 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 73 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Page from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 13, 1866. vol. XXI, pp. 264-265
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). Our National Winter Exercise--Skating, 1866. Wood engraving, Image: 13 7/8 x 20 1/4 in. (35.2 x 51.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Harvey Isbitts, 1998.105.96 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.105.96_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1998.105.96_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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