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Kaleidoscope: Works on Paper Recently Acquired for Scotland
John Byrne, Tilda Swinton, b. 1960. 2001 © Care of the Bridgeman Art Library / John Byrne

EDINBURGH.- Presenting an impressive and varied selection of drawings, prints and photographs, this summer Kaleidoscope will allow visitors to the National Gallery of Scotland to view more than seventy works recently acquired for the nation. The free exhibition drawn from the permanent collections of the National Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the Scottish National Photography Collection and the Gallery of Modern Art will span the Renaissance to the present day, and will include a broad range of media and techniques.

Among the highlights are a vibrant sketch of the Holy Family by the eighteenth-century Venetian painter Tiepolo; an important early watercolour by nineteenth-century Scottish artist E A Walton; a contemporary pastel portrait of the actress Tilda Swinton by her husband John Byrne; spectacular aerial photographs taken by Alfred Buckham in the 1920s; a striking self-portrait by the celebrated American photographer Lee Miller; and Picasso’s harrowing etching Weeping Woman.

The exhibition illustrates the diversity of ways in which major works enter the national collections, from direct purchases – often with generous support from funding bodies, notably The Art Fund – through public-spirited gifts and bequests, to works accepted by the government in lieu of tax (AIL).

Aidan Weston-Lewis, co-curator of the exhibition, said: “For its sheer quality and range, Kaleidoscope offers something for everyone. It showcases the very best of the works on paper acquired across the Galleries over the past few years, and acknowledges the generosity of our many donors and supporters. It marks something of a departure for the NGS in that works from different periods and in different media are displayed together in a loosely thematic hang”.

Important contemporary acquisitions featured in the exhibition include works by Scottish Turner Prize winner Douglas Gordon and celebrated British land artist Richard Long – both of whom have enjoyed recent retrospectives at the NGS. The earliest work on show, dating from about 1550, is believed by gallery curators to be a previously unrecognised drawing by the great Venetian painter Titian, by whom very few drawings are known.

Kaleidoscope promises to be a thought-provoking, lively display which will complement the larger Summer Season exhibitions this year. The exhibition will no doubt prove popular this summer with tourists as well as regular visitors to The Mound, who continue to appreciate the changing displays of the Galleries’ large and internationally important collection of works on paper and photographs.

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