Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Scottish National Gallery

Edinburgh - Scottish National Gallery

Scottish National Gallery

The Scottish National Gallery is the national art gallery of Scotland and first opened to the public in 1859.

The gallery houses Scotland’s collection of art, spanning Scottish and international art from the beginning of the Renaissance up to the start of the 20th century.

The National Gallery’s masterpieces include works by Jacopo Bassano, Van Dyck Giambattista Tiepolo,  Benjamin West, Rubens, Titian, and  Canova.

The Scottish National Gallery has a notable collection of works by Scottish artists, including several landscapes by Alexander Nasmyth, and several works by Sir Henry Raeburn.

The Gallery also holds a collection of works by English painters, such as Constable and Turner.

A Virtual Tour of the Scottish National Gallery

Highlights of the Scottish National Gallery

Vision after the Sermon” by Paul Gauguin

“Vision after the Sermon” by Paul Gauguin depicts a scene from the Bible in which Jacob wrestles an angel.

It illustrates this indirectly, through a vision that the women see after a sermon in church. It was painted in Brittany, France, in 1888, where Gauguin focused increasingly on interpreting the religious subject matter in his unique personal way.

Gauguin was moving away from naturalism towards a more abstracted, even symbolic, manner of painting. The tale of Jacob wrestling an angel is from Genesis in the Old Testament.

Haystacks by Claude Monet

Haystacks by Claude Monet is part of a series of stacks of harvested wheat or barley and oats. The original French title, Les Meules à Giverny, means The Stacks at Giverny.

The series consists of twenty-five canvas, which Monet began near the end of the summer of 1890, and though Monet also produced earlier paintings using this same stack subject.

The impressionist series is famous for how Monet repeated the same theme to show the different light and atmosphere at different times of day, across the seasons, and in many types of weather.

Monet’s Haystacks series is one of his earliest to rely on repetition of a subject to illustrate a subtle difference in color perception across variations of times of day, seasons, and weather.

Saint Bride” by John Duncan

“Saint Bride” by John Duncan delicts the legend of Saint Bride. The ancient story of St Bride is that she was transported miraculously to Bethlehem to attend the nativity of Christ.

Ducan shows two angels carrying the saint in white robes across the sea in a seascape setting that reflects the artist’s fascination with the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Iona.

The realistic depiction of birds, the seal, sea, and sky provide a naturalistic contrast to the supernatural angels overlapping the patterned border.

Drinkers in the Bower” by Pieter de Hooch

“A Dutch Courtyard” by Pieter de Hooch depicts two men seated at a table in the courtyard and a standing woman. The soldier who is wearing a breastplate is setting down the pitcher he has used to fill the glass, now held by the woman.

The “pass-glass” the woman is drinking from was used in drinking games. Each participant had to drink down to the next line on the glass.

If the drinker failed to reach the line level, the reveler would be required to drink down to the next ring. Only when the drinker had drunk successfully to the required line would the glass be passed on to the next participant.

The little girl carries a brazier of hot coals so that the two soldiers can light their long-stemmed, white clay pipes.

Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw” by John Singer Sargent

Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargent depicts Gertrude Agnew, the wife of Sir Andrew Agnew, 9th Baronet.

Lady Agnew is seated in an 18th-century French chair with a back that is curving to create a space for a distinctive elegance. She is shown in a three-quarter length pose, dressed in a white gown with a silk mauve sash around her waist.

The wall behind her is draped with Chinese silk of a blue color. Lady Agnew looks directly at the viewer. Her intimate expression is both challenging and quizzical half-smiling.

The Finding of Moses” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

“The Finding of Moses” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is a dramatic and large painting. The Old Testament subject is sumptuously colored in contemporary dress and life-like details.

The original painting was originally even larger, but a section, showing a soldier and a dog in a river landscape, was removed from the right.

Three Tahitians” by Paul Gauguin

“Three Tahitians” by Paul Gauguin depicts three figures stand out against a vivid, colorful background. Two women flank a young man, who is seen only from behind.

The women seem to be offering him a choice between the apple and the flowers. The options are between vice and virtue. This choice reflects the allegorical character of many of Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings. Gauguin has fused together ideas from different cultures.

Diana and Callisto” by Titian

“Diana and Callisto” by Titian depicts the moment Diana forces Callisto to strip and bathe and discovers her pregnancy.

Callisto was the favorite of Diana, the virgin goddess of the hunt, but Jupiter, king of the gods, noticed her beauty and disguised himself as a woman to seduce her.

Diana banished Callisto, but Callisto was then discovered by Hera, Zeus’s wife and transformed her into a bear

Scottish National Gallery

  • Name:                  Scottish National Gallery
  • Formerly:              National Gallery of Scotland
  • City:                      Edinburgh
  • Country:               Scotland
  • Architecture:        Neoclassical style
  • Established:          1859
  • Location:              The Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland

Explore Scotland’s Museums

Edinburgh Museums

Glasgow Museums

A Tour of European Museums

Map for Scottish National Gallery

Scottish National Gallery

Masterpieces from the Scottish National Gallery


“A day to come seems longer than a year that’s gone.”
– Scottish Proverb


Photo Credit: Enric via WC 

Popular this Week

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites
Kritios Boy
National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Imaginary Gallery of Ancient Roman Art by Giovanni Paolo Panini
Artemision Bronze
Antikythera Mechanism
Ancient Historical Artifacts
Moschophoros - The Calf Bearer
Tutankhamun's Mask