24 July, 2007

National Gallery of Scotland

For my third individual site I visited The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. The building of the National Gallery took six years to finally complete in 1856. The building itself is beautiful with domed ceilings that allow natural light to pour in and illuminate the works of art housed there. The galleries within are decorated with fancy oriental rugs, furniture, wallpaper, and carpeting that make you feel like you are in the formal parlor of a wealthy art patron instead of in a museum.

Right away I stumbled upon one of my favorite paintings that I had only previously seen in the pages of books: The Three Ages of Man by Titian. The details of the brushstrokes and the colors used were such a pleasant sight to see firsthand. A new favorite painting of mine that I had never seen before setting foot in the museum is Callum by John Emms. It is a portrait of a Dandie Dinmont Terrier painted in 1895. The owner of the dog was a man named Mr. James Cowan Smith. He bequeathed 55,000 pounds sterling to the gallery in 1919 which formed a trust fund for acquisitions. He had two conditions that the gallery had to satisfy in order to get the money. The first condition was that the gallery provide for his dog Fury who survived him, and the second condition was that the gallery always have Emms' portrait of his previously owned dog Callum on display. Needless to say, 55,000 pounds was a lot of money back in that day, and the painting has been there ever since.

In the basement of the gallery is the Scottish Collection which houses 17th-20th century paintings and sculptures. One painting in this collection that caught my eye was The Murder of David Rizzio painted in 1833 by Sir William Allan. It depicted the murder of the private secretary of Mary Queen of Scotts which took place at Holyrood Palace...which can be seen from our dorms here in Edinburgh! I could have spent several more hours exploring the artwork displayed in this gallery. Information on current and upcoming exhibits can be found at:
http://www.nationalgalleries.org/

1 comment:

nonkky said...

I'm glad you liked the painting of Callum the dog! It was mentioned at an event in the gallery on Thursday evening and yesterday I made a special trip back to the gallery to look at this delightful picture.