Scottish National Gallery

A while back, when I wrote my post about Edinburgh, I mentioned that we loved the Scottish National Gallery and that it deserved a post of it’s own. Well, last night I was awake in the middle of the night and for some reason the gallery popped into my head, so here is that post.

If you love museums like I do, then please check out the National Galleries if you go to Europe. I can’t speak for the mainland (as I haven’t been there yet) but I know that in the UK the National Galleries are free! Sometimes the additional exhibits require a paid ticket, but the main galleries don’t charge for admission. We haven’t been to the English National Gallery yet but it’s on my list. The Scottish National Gallery was well worth our time though, and there was even more to see that we weren’t able to get to before they closed for the day.

A picture of the former state of the Scottish National Gallery hanging in the gallery itself.

A painting of the Scottish National Gallery from when it was an art school, hanging in the gallery itself.

The main gallery is spacious and vibrant, with works from several different nations and eras. An art aficionado I am not, but I do enjoy it and I love seeing the various talents displayed from all over the world. I took pictures of a few of  my favorites.

Landscape with Christ and Saint Peter, by Goffredo Wals (1630s)

Landscape with Christ and Saint Peter, by Goffredo Wals (1630s)

Several of the works in the museum were incomplete. How fascinating to see the process behind these incredible pieces…

An Allegory of Virtue, attributed to Antonio Allegri (mid-1520s)

An Allegory of Virtue, attributed to Antonio Allegri (mid-1520s)

I loved seeing the intricate (if not always entirely accurate) displays of Biblical stories. This one was probably my favorite of those:

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, by Johannes Vermeer (1654-1655)

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, by Johannes Vermeer (1654-1655)

Landscape paintings are usually some of my favorites as well.

Princes Street, 1825, with the commencement of the building of the Royal Institution 1825, by Alexander Naysmith.  Princes Street doesn't quite look like that anymore...

Princes Street, 1825, with the commencement of the building of the Royal Institution 1825, by Alexander Naysmith. Princes Street doesn’t quite look like that anymore…

I’d imagine water and clouds are the two most difficult things to paint realistically…

Niagara Falls, from the American side, by Frederic Edwin Church (1867).

Niagara Falls, from the American side, by Frederic Edwin Church (1867).

Then, we moved on to the portion of the gallery that was dedicated to famous Scottish painters. My favorite paintings of the day were found here. This one was the pride and joy of the museum… his graceful stride is available on mugs, day planners, neckties, ink pens, ornaments, letter openers, and many more useless unique items in the gift shop. (Sidenote, I love museum gift shops.)

The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, by Sir Henry Raeburn (1795).

The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, by Sir Henry Raeburn (1795).

He’s pretty serious about his ice skating… I wouldn’t mess with him. And he’s a reverend.

In the Scottish area, I came across a newly acquired painting by Sir James Guthrie. I really love this painting. It’s an unusual yet normal day-to-day scene, painted with such care and talent on a scale typically reserved for much grander subjects. The colors are rich and warm. I stood and stared at it for as long as my tired feet (and hangry husband) would allow. I would love to have a copy of this hanging in my home.

In the Orchard or The Apple Gatherers, by Sir James Guthrie (1885).

In the Orchard or The Apple Gatherers, by Sir James Guthrie (1885).

This painting of the old man  was also one of my favorites. Unique from the fancy portraits or allegorical pieces, this was just a man resting from his work, his dog at his side. Simple and well done, and I liked that.

The Sheepfold by Alexander Mann (1905)

The Sheepfold by Alexander Mann (1905)

Overall, the gallery was an afternoon well spent. It was a quiet, meandering hour break from the busy (and chilly) streets of Edinburgh. It reminded me how much I appreciate quality artwork and how I’d love to have more in my own home, even if they are gift shop reproductions. Also, I have a renewed admiration for people who have the great talent of painting! I can’t even paint trim without ruining the wall-paint, let alone create a masterpiece like this, but I’m glad there are people around who can!

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2 thoughts on “Scottish National Gallery

  1. I LOVE museum gift shops, and I had a special place in my heart for Glasgow’s museum gift shop. Sometimes I would go there to get a coffee and hang out and look at the trinkets.

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