Best of country’s art to go on show at revamped National Galleries of Scotland

New displays featuring the best historic Scottish art will be open to the public at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh for the first time this Saturday.

The shows at the revamped National gallery aim to bring the nation’s artistic heritage to life from 1800 onwards and feature much-admired Scottish colourists and major works from the first half of the 20th century.

New ways of looking at Scotland’s natural and urban environments will be on offer, with early photographs of Scotland’s capital city shown in the same spaces as grand paintings of majestic Highland landscapes, including works such as Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen.

Reimagined displays of drawings and sketches will celebrate artists such as Glasgow Style pioneer Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and Alloa-born David Allan, whose depictions of “Edinburgh Characters” will allow visitors to get up close to street life in the Scottish capital.

Visitors can also enjoy spectacular views over the capital as they make their way through the exhibitions at the venue on the Mound. Entry is free.

Work to double the display space available at the National started in 2018 and the project cost an estimated £38.6 million which was funded by contributions from the Scottish Government, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other donations.

Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “With this project we set out to transform the experience of visiting the National and to show the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art with real pride and ambition.

“With the new Scottish galleries at the National, we have achieved these aims and more. The gallery is more accessible than ever before and there is a stunning new display of 150 years of Scottish art in all its richness and depth.

“From this Saturday, everyone is welcome to discover a brilliant new experience, free, in the heart of our nation’s capital.”

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson MSP said: “The National Galleries of Scotland has the world’s finest collection of Scottish Art and I’m delighted that the new galleries will now have space to showcase this to a national and international audience.

“We have supported this redevelopment project from the start with a significant contribution of £15.25 million and it’s wonderful to see the new galleries open, allowing everyone to enjoy them.”

Caroline Clark, the National Lottery Heritage Fund director for Scotland, said: “National Galleries of Scotland have created a truly world-class facility showcasing Scotland’s distinctive and internationally important artistic heritage.

“This iconic building at the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site is safeguarded for the future, creating a focus for our cultural and economic renewal.

“We are proud and excited to welcome the world to Edinburgh to enjoy the new galleries.

“We believe heritage helps us to understand who we are and where we are from; and so, we join with the National Galleries of Scotland in declaring this is a place for the people of Scotland.

“Our support for this project is thanks to National Lottery players and we encourage them to visit as soon and often as they can.”

The National Galleries of Scotland consist of four galleries: the National, Modern One, Modern Two and the Portrait.