For quieter contemplation, visit during the winter months. There is an annual showing of Turner’s watercolours in January
The Scottish National Gallery may not be the largest, but it houses an extraordinary array of artworks. Set in a grand, neoclassical building with Ionic porticoes, the gallery is located on The Mound in central Edinburgh, symbolically caught between the Old and New Towns. Fittingly, in the collection you will find a mix of the Old Masters and artists fresh from winning the Turner Prize.
In its distinctive octagonal rooms, illuminated through skylights and with pine green carpets and wine red walls, you can find European art from the Renaissance through to the present day. Highlights include Titian’s Renaissance masterpiece, “The Three Ages of Man”, Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait aged fifty-one” and Poussin’s “Seven Sacraments”.
However, be sure not to miss the homegrown art. Scotland has a strong tradition in the fine arts and the gallery has extensive displays of Scottish works from Allan Ramsay, David Wilkie and Henry Raeburn which are always on display in the lower floor rooms.
A room with a view
Sir Walter Scott called Scotland the “Land of the mountain and the flood.” To understand what he meant, the best thing you can do - beyond some of your own exploring - is to savour the Scottish landscape paintings by 19th century artists such as Peter Graham and Horatio McCulloch.
Angels of the north
Weather permitting, the beautiful parkland surrounding the gallery must be explored. Let the dramatic contours of the lawns guide you between sculptures from artists such as Anthony Gormley and Barbara Hepworth.
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