Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: David Roberts’ Edinburgh

Edinburgh from the Calton Hill, David Roberts
Edinburgh from the Calton Hill, David Roberts

The link is to a zoomable version on The Google Art Project; there is a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; the original is in the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia.

Mid-19th century painter David Roberts was known primarily for his views of exotic locations and landmarks in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean, but he also painted his native Scotland.

Here he makes Edinburgh look almost like a view of Rome. I love the way shadows fall dramatically across the landscape, highlighting some areas and concealing others, with subtle mini-compositions of groups of figures in many of the dark foreground areas.

The painting has enormous depth, extending from the immediate foreground of the activity on the hill to our right back into the distance over the tops of the city’s buildings. Roberts’ use of atmospheric perspective is subtle, without the sharp contrasts in definition found in some paintings of great distance.

The overall sensation is one of inviting the viewer’s gaze into the painting at several entry points, with multiple areas of interest and visual pleasure over which to linger.

For more, see my previous post on David Roberts.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: David Roberts’ Edinburgh”

  1. This is looking so good. I could never draw like this. The thing, I love the most at this picture are the details. You only hardly can see them, but they only finish the picture. Looks perfect!

    1. It’s great to have access to these high-resolution images so we can see the details.