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A man with pale skin, wearing a black suit and hat, glides towards us on ice skates in this vertical portrait painting. The man’s body faces us but he turns his head to his left, our right, and looks slightly down and off into the distance. His arms are crossed over his chest and he balances on his right skate, the other toe pushing him forward. His gray hair is pulled back under his wide-brimmed hat, which may have a buckle or other ornament at the front center of the crown. A curl along his left cheek escapes and is lifted by the breeze. He has dark eyes, a straight nose, his wide mouth is closed, and he as a cleft in his chin. He wears a high-necked white shirt and cravat under his black, fitted, knee-length jacket. The wide gray lapels lay open, and may be lined with fur. The wrist of one ivory-colored glove is visible where he tucks his hand into the opposite elbow. His knee-length breeches have a buckle at the knee we can see, and he wears black stockings and black shoes with silver buckles. The blades of the skates seem to have been tied onto his shoes. The blades leave curving marks on the ice, which is painted with silver and iron gray. The horizon line of the landscape behind him comes about a third of the way up the canvas. A knot of skaters and buildings and trees beyond are hazy in the distance to our left. A few people stand along the water’s edge near a leafless tree to our right. The steely sky is nearly white around the man and deepens to nickel gray along the top edge.

Gilbert Stuart, The Skater (Portrait of William Grant), 1782, oil on canvas, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1950.18.1

Gilbert Stuart’s The Skater (Portrait of William Grant)

Sketchbook Club

  • Wednesday, January 5, 2022
  • 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Registration Required
  • Virtual Program

Join us as we sketch inspired by Gilbert Stuart’s The Skater (Portrait of William Grant).

This is one club where you don’t need a membership to join! National Gallery of Art teaching artists lead free, 30-minute sketches inspired by works of art from the National Gallery’s collection. Add new drawings to your sketchbook or just doodle along with us as we explore a different prompt each session.

All you need are a pencil and paper. We encourage you to bring colored pencils, crayons, markers, or paints as well, but these are optional. Sketchbook Club is recommended for families with children of all ages.

Registration is required.