Visual art: In the frame

The most significant works of art in Scotland

Visual art: In the frame

Glasgow and Edinburgh’s galleries and museums play host to some of the most famous art works in the world. David Pollock selects the ten you cannot afford to miss.

Lucien Freud: Two Men

Lucien Freud

Two Men
Bought upon its completion in 1988 for £300,000, the Scottish National Galleries didn’t do too badly out of this life study of two reclining men, one naked, one not. Freud is now the world’s most expensive living artist.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Salvador Dali: Christ of St John on the Cross

Salvador Dali

Christ of St John on the Cross
Possibly the biggest coup in Scottish art-buying history, the purchase of this striking and classic religious image for a knock-down £8,200 was considered a controversial waste in 1952. Now it’s lent and reproduced around the world.
Kelvingrove, Glasgow

Roy Lichtenstein: In The Car

Roy Lichtenstein

In The Car
Typical of Lichtenstein’s Pop Art reappropriating comic strip panels as high art, there’s a certain kineticism about this piece which makes it stand out. Glamorous blonde goes for a drive with square-jawed guy, and an iconic moment is framed.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
John Byrne: Robbie Coltrane

John Byrne

Robbie Coltrane
Two icons of the Scottish arts meet, around the time Coltrane got his big break playing one of the lead roles in the multi-faceted Byrne’s television series Tutti Frutti.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

Alison Watt: Phantom

Alison Watt

Newly purchased by GoMA with assistance from The Art Fund, this recent work by the highly thought-of Greenock-born Watt will go on display in November.
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

Eduardo Paolozzi: Masters of the Universe

Eduardo Paolozzi

Masters of the Universe
Based upon a drawing of Isaac Newton by William Blake, this large-scale sculpture by the Leith-born Pop Artist Paolozzi is one of the defining sights of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Dean Gallery complex’s gardens.
Dean Gallery, Edinburgh

Titian: The Three Ages of Man


The Three Ages of Man
Dwelling on the ages of man and his ultimate mortality, this piece by the Venetian master of the Italian Renaissance is one of Scotland’s older artistic treasures.
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
Gilbert and George: Exister

Gilbert and George

Famed for using themselves as ‘living sculptures’, this 1984 work sees the artists and an unknown cast made iconic through the impudent ‘stained glass window’ technique, a G&G trademark.
The d’Offay Donation, Scottish National Galleries, Edinburgh (to be exhibited Spring 2009)
Joseph Beuys: Fettstuhl (Fat Chair)

Joseph Beuys

Fettstuhl (Fat Chair)
A chair in a glass case, and a heap of animal fat atop it – this is how Beuys symbolised the frailty and mechanical purpose of the human form in 1964.
The d’Offay Donation, Scottish National Galleries, Edinburgh (to be exhibited Spring 2009)
Damien Hirst: Trinity: Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathology =

Damien Hirst

Trinity: Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathology
Continuing his vivid fascination with mortality, this triptych of Hirst’s comprises three cabinets filled with medical busts and artefacts.
The d’Offay Donation, Scottish National Galleries, Edinburgh (to be exhibited Spring 2009)

Gallery of Modern Art

Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH

Located on Royal Exchange Square, in William Cunninghame of Lainshaw's imposing 1778 townhouse, the Gallery of Modern Art's monumentalism is offset by the traffic cone that's usually perched on the head of the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, an exuberant piece of Edwardian architecture, was built in 1901 to house both an art collection and Glasgow's old industrial museum, and its eclecticism is part of its appeal; few other museums can offer a stuffed…

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One

75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Standing opposite Modern Two (formerly Dean Gallery), the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One is fronted by the giant Landform sculpture by Charles Jencks, a stepped, serpentine mound reflected in three crescent-shaped pools of water. Inside the…

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two

73 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DS

Opened in 1999 in a former orphanage, the Scottish National Galleries' second modern art gallery, formerly known as the Dean Gallery, stands across the road from its partner, just outside Edinburgh’s Dean Village. Since its opening it has housed the…

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD

Modelled on the Doges Palace in Venice, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery has an impressive gothic red sandstone façade designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. As well as classical subjects such as Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, the…


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