Scotland’s art galleries celebrate the vivid colours of 20th-century moderns and the ground-breaking work of 21st-century artists from around the world. Many Scottish painters and sculptors have earned worldwide acclaim and are well represented in the country’s shrines to art and culture.
Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Scotland’s newest and boldest aesthetic gallery opened on Dundee’s regenerated waterfront in 2018. While focusing on modern and contemporary design by new and up-and-coming artists, the centrepiece here is the Scottish Design Galleries, where the gem of the collection is Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s carefully reassembled 1907 Oak Room, unseen by the public since it was dismantled in the 1970s.
William Adam, founder of a dynasty of great Scottish architects, designed this grand country hideaway for the First Earl of Fife in his signature style, fusing Palladian and Baroque elements. Works by Ramsay and Raeburn sit alongside European masterpieces such as El Greco’s St Jerome in Penitence.
The grande dame of Scotland’s galleries stands on The Mound in Edinburgh. Opened in 1859 to a design by William Henry Playfair, the Neo-Classical building is a landmark in its own right. Within is a world-class collection that includes Scotland’s own master painters and works by medieval, Renaissance and later artists from Titian, Raphael and Botticelli to Vermeer, Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh.
Street artists such as Smug and Rogue-One have made city walls their canvases for eye-catching and vibrantly colourful works scattered along this open-air trail. They celebrate every aspect of Glaswegian life and culture, from depictions of revered local heroes like comedian and musician Billy Connolly to urban wildlife.
Bronzes by Eduardo Paolozzi, a sweeping landscape work by Charles Jencks and pieces by Henry Moore and Barbaba Hepworth dominate the sculpture gardens surrounding the two grand 19th-century buildings that house this collection. Dada and Surrealist art rules the permanent collection at Modern Two, while Modern One hosts changing exhibitions by titans of modern and contemporary art.
The stars of the Glasgow Style and Scottish Colourist movements share hallowed spaces with European masters such as Salvador Dali, Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh within the halls of this triumphal red sandstone palace. Encrusted with Spanish Baroque spires and turrets, it opened in 1901 and is a much-loved cultural landmark.
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Henry Raeburn (1756–1823)
Royal portraitist knighted by George IV.
Samuel Peploe (1871–1935)
A leading light of the post-Impressionist “Scottish Colourists”.
Anne Redpath (1895–1965)
Star of the acclaimed “Edinburgh School”.
Eduardo Paolozzi (1924–2005 )
Pop art pioneer and creator of massive bronze sculptures.