Portrait of the Nation explores work by and of famous Scots (3 stars)

Exhibition contains portraiture from Henry Raeburn and David Wilkie

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Portrait of the Nation explores work by and of famous Scots

During the refurbishment of Edinburgh’s National Portrait Gallery, some of the permanent collection has found a temporary home in the National Galleries building on the Mound. The exhibition explores work by and of famous Scots, resulting in a blend of history and insight told in the faces of the past.

The collection is almost entirely composed of historical works, save for Ken Currie’s ‘Three Oncologists’ – presented here with background information on the trio as an indication of Scotland’s continuing contribution to the sciences. This complements the selection of artworks from the period of Enlightenment, where the country became a hub for the arts, science and literature. Among those depicted here are David Hume and Adam Ferguson. Delving further back, we find imagery from times of war, including a striking self-portrait of Robert Henderson Blyth as a soldier against a decimated background (‘Existence Precocious’). Moving forward again we can enjoy Scotland’s Golden Age through portraiture with works from Henry Raeburn and David Wilkie (whose self-portrait is pictured, above).

National Galleries of Scotland, until Sun 4 Sep 2011

Live Music Now: Ailie Robertson

  • 3 stars

The clarsach player performs traditional and modern Scottish music in a programme inspired by the 'Portrait of a Nation' exhibition.

Portrait of the Nation

  • 3 stars

A chance to get a taster of the planned environment of the currently-under-renovation Scottish National Portrait Gallery and some of the works that will be on show when it reopens its doors later this year.

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