Portal:Scotland/Selected article/Week 1, 2013

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"The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch", traditionally attributed to Henry Raeburn

Scottish art incorporates art made in Scotland or about Scottish subjects since prehistoric times. It also includes art made in predecessor states, within the present-day boundaries of Scotland, and also art made by Scottish people in other locations. It forms a distinctive tradition within European art, but the political union with England has led its partial subsumation in British art. The earliest known examples of art from present-day Scotland, are highly decorated carved stone balls from the Neolithic period. From the Bronze Age there are examples of carvings, including the first representations of objects, and cup and ring marks. From the Iron Age there are more extensive examples of patterned objects and gold work. From the early Middle Ages there are elaborately carved Pictish stones and impressive metalwork. The development of a common style of Insular art across Great Britain and Ireland influenced the creation of elaborate jewellery and illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells.

In the eighteenth century Scotland began to produce artists that were significant internationally, all influenced by neoclassicism, including Allan Ramsay, Gavin Hamilton, the brothers John and Alexander Runciman, Jacob More and David Allan. Towards the end of the century the influence of Romanticism began to have an impact on artistic production, and can be seen in the portraits of artists like Henry Raeburn. It also led to the development of a tradition of Scottish landscape painting which focused on the Highlands, formulated by figures including Alexander Nasmyth. The Royal Scottish Academy of Art was created in 1826, and major portrait painters of this period included Andrew Geddes and David Wilkie. William Dyce emerged as one of the most significant figures in art education in the United Kingdom. The beginnings of a Celtic Revival can be seen in the late nineteenth century and the art scene was dominated by the work of the Glasgow Boys and the Four, led Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who gained an international reputation for their combination of Celtic revival, Art and Crafts and Art Nouveau. The early twentieth century was dominated by the Scottish Colourists and a growing interest in forms of modernism, with William Johnstone helping to develop the concept of a Scottish Renaissance. In the post-war period, major artists, including John Bellany and Alexander Moffat, pursued a strand of "Scottish realism". Moffat's influence can be seen in the work of the "new Glasgow Boys" from the late twentieth century. In the twenty-first century Scotland has continued to produce successful and influential artists like Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz.