A movement called ‘Art for all’ years ago was promoted by a Scottish art association and since then many museums have been free of charge in order to allow everyone to have a chance to be exposed to art as much as art is exposed to them. The museum is housed in a neoclassical building designed by Sir William Playfair, one of the most brilliant architects in the United Kingdom.
Although the two galleries are surrounded by large English style gardens and mazes, the main hall of the National Gallery is located on a hill surrounded by a large lawn, and its big entrance reflects on the lagoon just in front of it.
Prince Albert wanted to build the palace in 1850 but it took some years to finish it and it was finally opened to the public in 1889. As time passed, the museum underwent several restorations both internally and externally, with several different interventions aimed at increasing its exhibition space to welcome new art works.
Going to the National Gallery of Scotland you can visit numerous works by Scottish and international artists, temporary art exhibitions, documents about cultural events of the past and a total of 3300 works of art including more than 1000 paintings, about 200 sculptures, art installations, photographs and paper prints. The exhibition center, located in the center of the city, consists of three harmoniously connected buildings. Wandering around the vast halls of the National Gallery of Scotland, you can enjoy many masterpieces, including some from the Renaissance or the late 19th century, with prestigious names including Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Rubens, Gauguin amongst many others.
The National Gallery of Scotland consists of three galleries that can be visited, namely the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It is also associated with two other galleries, the Paxton House in Berwich and the Duff House in Banff. The permanent collection of the National Gallery of Scotland proposes works of art from the early Renaissance to portraits of illustrious Scottish artists from the 16th century to the present, the collection of Scottish art, modern and contemporary art, as well as Surrealist and abstract collections.
Among the works that can be viewed at the National Gallery of Scotland, the Leonardo da Vinci’ s ‘Lady with child among the saints’ and the ‘The holy family with a palm tree’ by Raphael deserve a special mention.
The first floor welcomes temporary exhibitions. On the second floor you can see some Russian and French art works of the early twentieth century, modern British and expressionist art, Scottish modern art and some Cubist works.
Among the most important artists whose works are in the top and most modern wing of the museum are Matisse, Picasso and Andy Warhol while the Dean Gallery exposes a Surrealist and Dadaist art collection.
Many people think that the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is too far off from mainstream and it can only be interesting for modern and contemporary art lovers but I don’t agree with this comment.
When I visited the museum, I enjoyed its gardens and its outdoor sculptures, but I also enjoyed its collections because, even though I’m not an art connoisseur, I think that the museum’s displays are well made so everyone can appreciate art and get inspiration from it.
Some of the art pieces on display offer information on the art works but they also offer some questions for the visitor so one can try to investigate the work and get a personal meaning from art.
The Art collection: