The Skate God
© the Artist / Bridgeman Art Library. All rights reserved.

Reference URL

The Skate God Dated 1972
  • Scottish Art
Relating to several other etchings made at this time, ‘The Skate God’ shows a skate with a human face which appears to be sitting cross-legged at the centre of the composition. Behind, two naked figures, with skeletal heads rise from the ground. They recall Bellany’s figure paintings of the late 1960s following his visit to Buchenwald concentration camp and can therefore be viewed as figures of death. In titling the work ‘The Skate God’ Bellany is perhaps questioning the role of God as part of his Calvinist upbringing. There is also a distinct sexual content, with the skate’s tail appearing, as in other etchings, as a phallus.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.



  • Acc. No. GMA 2995
  • Medium Etching on paper (6/50)
  • Size 35.70 x 28.60 cm (paper 61.30 x 49.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1986