The Fallen Christ : Ronald Rae

Ronald Rae - A Scottish poet and wonderful sculptor- What a man - I just love his work. These three short videos at the end of the post are inspiring and the man has a delightful sense of Celtic drama and humour too.

Ronald Rae was born in Ayr, Scotland in 1946. Whilst still in short trousers he struck his first granite rock. After 45 years of carving granite Ronald Rae now has many sculptures in private and public collections in the UK and abroad. 
The Ronald Rae Sculpture Exhibition of hand carved granite sculptures has been on tour in England since 1994 showing at major venues such as Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Regent’s Park, London, the Natural History Museum, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh and now at The Falkirk Wheel.

Each exhibition is varied in theme with new sculptures being added whilst others have found permanent homes. The current exhibition at The Falkirk Wheel includes three of Rae’s latest work including a most tender work, the ten tonne Heavy Horse and Foal. 

Also being exhibited for the first time – Three Elephants and St. Francis. The sculptures were carved over the past twenty years in the grounds of Cramond Kirk in Edinburgh.

In the beginning Rae explored his faith through his art. This resulted in a large series of emotive drawings and carvings based on the life of Christ. Being brought up in the countryside it followed that he expressed his appreciation of animals in his art.
The pink and grey granite that Rae has carved for the past twenty years comes from Kemnay and Tillyfourie quarries in Aberdeenshire. The silver grey granite he used for his earlier works came from Creetown and Dalbeattie quarries on the Solway Firth. 

The oldest granite is 470 million years old. It is in these quarries that Rae finds the right stone or the stone finds him. He makes no plans in advance for his sculptures. He carves intuitively to find what is within each stone. Often he finds animals. To him it is “a miracle.” He says passionately “I do not just carve animals, I try to carve the spirit of animals. The sculptures are a thank you for my life – they are my prayers”.

Aware of his Celtic heritage he thrilled at seeing Scotland’s ancient carved stones and Celtic crosses that often included wild boar, horses and bears. Some of these animals are celebrated at The Falkirk Wheel exhibition.

 Rae was always intrigued by prehistoric cave art. This perhaps inspired his relief sculpture Bison

In this work he did not carve the stone in the round but used his chisel to draw on its surface. 


Also carved in relief is the monumental Tyger Tyger

The Lion of Scotland  is superb

In this one Ronald talks poignantly on his sculptures at the Falkirk Wheel Exhibition: Man of Sorrows, The Flight into Egypt, and maybe his last sculpture of St Francis.

In this video we see the magnificent sculpture of the Fallen Christ. Not everyone manages to go to the island of Iona because of the long journeys involved – from the mainland of Scotland it requires two ferry journeys and 40 miles on a one track road through Mull. 
It is said of Iona that it is a hard place to get to and an equally hard place to leave. After seeing this video I think you will understand why. 

In this video Ronald  looks for stone in his beloved Corrennie granite quarry in Aberdeenshire.

Ronald Rae's website here has more videos and much more information to explore and is well worth a visit.
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1 comment:

Fran said...

Wow- amazing! Thank you so much for this.I have never seen his work before.