Five Paintings in Edinburgh That Might Make Ian Rankin Pull Off a Heist

Ian Rankin’s “Doors Open” is about three friends who “liberate” artwork from the National Gallery in Scotland.  To celebrate the publication of the paperback, we asked the author to tell us about the five paintings that might inspire him to make a similar move.  Check back each day this week for additional entries.

Diego Velázquex’s An Old Woman Cooking Eggs at the National Gallery of Scotland.

This is quite possibly my favorite painting in the whole world.  I love the interplay of light and dark, and also the relationship between the old woman and her young assistant.  Is he merely fetching for her, or is she teaching him to cook?  There is so much life in her face—all those experiences she can pass on to future generations.  There is also an eagerness about the lad.  The painting is impeccably composed by the artist, and is incredibly vivid and lifelike.—Ian Rankin


  1. Posted September 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    the picture talks for itself, but then ian offers great sub-titles.
    what a great idea for a promotion.
    nice work.

  2. Julene
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I just read the book, ‘Doors Open’ and was fascinated with the five paintings in Edinburgh that might make Ian Rankin pull off a heist. I wanted to see the artwork for myself and decide if I agreed with Mr. Rankin. The first portrait listed is Diego Velazquez’s “An Old Woman Cooking Eggs”. I was unable to locate it by that title but did find one titled “An Old Woman Frying Eggs”.

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