Even as a history of art student, getting into Edinburgh’s art scene can be overwhelming, with so many galleries dispersed throughout the city. But after doing a grand tour of all the galleries, here is the final five-stop art stroll through the city that you will be able to do this freshers (art is the perfect hangover cure, trust me).
Scottish National Gallery
A comprehensive collection that includes the likes of da Vinci, Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Goya, you can get a taste of a bit of everything here. It’s particularly fascinating to see Alexander Nasmyth’s Princes Street with the Commencement of the Building of the Royal Institution and compare the street views to today.
Tip: The Scottish Café & Restaurant located just at the gardens level entrance to the gallery offers a delicious, hearty Scottish breakfast to complete the full Scottish experience.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Modern One & Modern Two
Must-see exhibit: Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema, running now until 20 Feb 2022; gallery hours: Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Modern One gallery is filled with more recent arts, roughly from the nineteenth century to today. Even if you’ve forgotten to book tickets, take the time to enjoy the massive grounds surrounding the gallery, and on a nice day, bring along some friends, food, and a picnic blanket.
For the Ray Harryhausen exhibition, at £10 per ticket during the weekdays, prices may be hefty, but it’s a unique exhibition that you won’t be able to see anywhere else. If you’d like to do a bit of prep on Ray Harryhausen before the exhibition, I personally recommend watching The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
Tip: Don’t confuse the Modern One and the Modern Two galleries – they’re across the street from each other!
Talbot Rice Gallery
Must-see exhibit: Angelica Mesiti / In the Round, running 1 Oct 2021 – 19 Feb 2022; gallery hours: Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Coming up in October is Australian Artist Angelica Mesiti’s multi-sensory installation which is her response to the 2020 lockdown. Hum, a commissioned piece especially for the gallery, will feature the work of recent ECA graduate Dong Ding, so it’s also a great way to see what other students are doing in their post-university life (you’ll get there soon, I promise).
Tip: The entrance isn’t through the university quad, but on W College Street.
Must-see exhibit: Karla Black’s sculptures (2001-2021), details for a retrospective, running 7 July 2021 – 24 Oct 2021; gallery hours: Bookshop and Café Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Exhibition spaces 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Scottish artist Karla Black’s focus of this exhibition was exploring art’s relation to space utilising various materials, resulting in highly Instagrammable, aesthetic rooms filled with sculpture, gold foils, and pink dust. For young ECA artists looking for fun, fresh, creative inspiration, this is the gallery to be at.
Tip: Don’t forget to check out the gallery shop on your way out! The shop offers aesthetic stationery that will fit in beautifully with your Pukka Pads that you will probably never use after two lectures.
City Art Centre
Must-see exhibit: Marine | Ian Hamilton Finlay, running from 22 May 2021 to 3 October 2021; gallery hours: Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Born in Nassau, Bahamas but brought up in Glasgow, Finlay’s maritime themed exhibition brings back the nostalgia of this past summer’s heatwave. Look out for the enviable postcards on display (unfortunately not on for sale at the gallery shop).
Tip: No pictures are allowed for this exhibition, so don’t anger the gallery assistants by snapping up photos!