If your New Year's resolution is to get out and see some incredible art in 2016 then you're in luck. Our guide to the best exhibitions to see in Scotland has some truly exciting shows, from the impressionists to the Celts Edinburgh
The Scottish National Gallery presents Inspiring Impressionism | Daubigny, Monet and Van Gogh (June 25 – October 2), which brings to light work by a relatively little-know impressionist painter. The show examines the role of Charles François Daubigny, who has never been the subject of a major international exhibition, in supporting and developing the impressionist movement.
© The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
There's still time if you haven’t had a chance to see the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s Modern Scottish Women | Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965. This major exhibition of works by lesser-known female artists working in Scotland during the modern art period continues into the summer (until June 26).
In the summer, the gallery tackles the world of surrealist art in Surreal Encounters | Collecting the Marvellous (June 4 – September 11) which explores the full breadth of the surrealist movement through four expansive collections.
© Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam © Beeldrecht Amsterdam 2007. Photographer: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015
A visit to the gallery wouldn’t be complete without taking in Bridget Riley | Paintings, 1964-2015 (April 15 2016 – April 16 2017), a year-long display of the iconic Op artist’s monochrome paintings.
Over at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Scottish photographic collective Document Scotland feature in (until April 24), a collection of photographs of and about the nation and its people in the wake of the Scottish referendum.
There’s also a chance to catch some outstanding work by photographers from across the globe working in the medium of portrait photography in The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 (June 18 – October 2), which showcases the very best work by contemporary photographers, with subjects ranging from the artists’ friends and family to the president of the USA.
© Peter Zelewski
Shortly after, the gallery brings together an impressive collection of self-portraits from the likes of Rembrandt, Edvard Munch and Marina Abramovich to name but a few. Facing the World | Self-Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei (July 16 – October 16) explores the diversity of the self-portrait, discovering how artists choose to represent themselves.
The National Museum of Scotland is delving into a key missing chapter in evolutionary history with Fossil Hunters: Unearthing the Mystery of Life on Land (February 19 – August 14), uncovering a groundbreaking discovery which finally begins to answer how life transitioned from water to land.
Further mysteries are uncovered later on in the year for the museum’s unmissable major exhibition Celts (March 10 – October 25), an in-depth look at the culture of the Celts charting the history of the different groups that have been known by the name over the last 300 years through remarkable artefacts including jewellery, religious objects and decorative arts.
© Courtesy The National Museum of Denmark
Fruitmarket Gallery have a major exhibition of work by Scottish artist Sara Barker (March 11 – May 30), whose delicate sculptures embrace the freedom of the drawn line. The exhibition contains both new and existing work, which beautifully translates sketches and line drawings into almost impossibly precarious forms.
The City Art Centre has a collection of work from painter Stephen Collingbourne. Formerly a lecturer of sculpture Edinburgh College of Art, Collingbourne has taken advice from a tutor during the 60s to enhance his practice by embracing the colour he hated the most. Don’t be Afraid of Pink (May 7 – July 3) is a lively selection of work made with this idea in mind.
Alongside, a touring exhibition from the Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery Making It: Sculpture in Britain 1977-1986 (also May 7 – July 3) brings to light sculptures made during a surge in the medium’s popularity during the 1970s and 80s.
British artists such as Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Cornelia Parker gained international acclaim for their sculptural works; this exhibition brings some of these inspirational examples to Edinburgh.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is looking back on four centuries of art inspired by the garden in Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden (August 5 2016 – February 19 2017). The exhibition charts the significance of the garden in fine and decorative art – from da Vinci’s early botanical illustrations, to ornate botanic-inspired porcelain pieces.
© Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
British Art Show 8 (February 13 – May 8) goes on display at venues across the city. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Talbot Rice Gallery all play host to the touring exhibition on its Scottish leg. Showcasing some of the most exciting contemporary art being made in the UK, the exhibition highlights work from 42 artists working across a broad spectrum of artistic media.
The Edinburgh Art Festival (July 28 - August 28) returns for another year to unite the city's museums, galleries and artist-led spaces with an ambitious programme celebrating contemporary visual art and work from important 20th century artists and movements.
Taking place at various venues across Glasgow is Glasgow International (April 8 - 25), a city-wide celebration of local and international contemporary art. The festival aims to develop and support contemporary artists, and help the public engage with the arts through exhibitions, events and talks.
Elsewhere in Scotland
Over in Dundee, The McManus has a couple of terrific drawing exhibitions which explore the importance, variety and beauty of drawing through Dundee’s art collection.
© The Artist
(until August 28) embraces the breadth of drawing, bringing together pieces which celebrating the medium’s almost unlimited variety, and (until April 17) celebrates the more playful, experimental side of the medium.
At Dundee Contemporary Arts, (February 27 – May 1) explores Scottish architecture and art as part of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture 2016.
Also taking place in the festival, Shelters (March 5 – June 5) is a major exhibition from Fife Contemporary Art & Craft examining the human need to make shelter. An immersive photographic installation takes you through Lloyd Khan’s green buildings, and discusses similar constructions in Scotland.
In Stromness, don’t let the size of the Pier Arts Centre’s collection fool you – though small in size the collection has huge importance, containing works from important 20th century artists such as Sir Terry Frost, Eduardo Paolozzi and Alan Davie. These fantastic paintings and sculptures get a chance to shine throughout 2016 in Pier Arts Centre Collection (February 9 – December 24).
We'll be updating this list throughout the year as more and more amazing exhibitions are announced. Make sure you check back often to see what's new near you.
Is there anything you're looking forward to this year, or anything we've missed? Let us know by commenting below.
Explore more of our regional guides:
The best exhibitions to see in the East of England in 2016
The best exhibitions to see in London in 2016
The best exhibitions to see in the Midlands in 2016
The best exhibitions to see in the North in 2016
The best exhibitions to see in the South East in 2016
The best exhibitions to see in the South West in 2016
The best exhibitions to see in Wales in 2016