New Purchases As Scottish Galleries Mark 21 Years Of Collecting

By Graham Spicer | 24 October 2005
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Shows a photo of a giant white egg slicer

Mona Hatoum, Slicer (1999). Courtesy National Galleries of Scotland

National Galleries of Scotland have bought two major new works, which are featuring in a special exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy Building in Edinburgh.

The exhibition marks the departure of Sir Timothy Clifford, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, who will step down in January 2006 after 21 years in the post.

Choice: 21 Years of Collecting for Scotland runs from November 2 2005 to January 23 2006 and, along with the new acquisitions, will showcase more than 500 objects, from Roman sarcophagi to work by Damien Hirst.

Shows a classical painting of a naked woman rising from the sea wringing out her hair

Titian, Venus Rising from the Sea (Venus Anadyomene) (c1520-5). Courtesy National Galleries of Scotland

The two latest works are Giacomo Antonio Ponsonelli’s The Immaculate Conception (c1700) and Mona Hatoum’s Slicer (1999), which were purchased with the help of grants worth more than £100,000 from The National Art Collections Fund (Art Fund).

Ponsonelli’s (1654-1745) sculpture is Scotland’s first full-length standing marble sculpture by an Italian Baroque artist and was completed in about 1700. Mona Hatoum’s Slicer (1999) in contrast is a huge egg slicer that in its expanded form is actually big enough for a child, not an egg. Hatoum was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1995.

“In the last 21 years Sir Timothy Clifford has had an amazing record of achievement in building the collections of the Galleries,” said David Barrie, Director of the Art Fund.

Shows a classical painting of the Virgin Mary in a blue cloak with her hands held together in prayer looking over a sleeping baby Jesus. Mary and Jesus have halos and are in front of a rose bush

Sandro Boticelli, The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child (c1485-90). Courtesy National Galleries of Scotland

“The Art Fund has played a key part in securing some of the Galleries’ best-loved and finest works, many of which will go on display together on November 2.”

Sir Timothy was appointed Director of the National Galleries of Scotland in 1984 after serving as Director of Manchester City Art Galleries from 1978-1984.

“It has been a thrill to be at the helm of such a distinguished institution as the National Galleries of Scotland for the past 21 years,” he said.

Shows a photo of a wooden sculpture of a hollow ellipsoid shape on a wooden base

Barbara Hepworth, Wave (1943-4). Courtesy National Galleries of Scotland

“I adore these collections which have given me such infinite pleasure and I hope that they will give the public, the owners of these works, equal delight.”

Along with sculpture, the exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, prints, miniatures, photography and the decorative arts. Art Fund grants have been instrumental in acquiring many of the works on display, including Titian’s Venus Anadyomene (c1520-5), Boticelli’s The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child (c1490) and Picasso’s La Fin d’un Monstre (1937).

The National Galleries of Scotland has three collections at the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Dean Gallery. The Royal Scottish Academy Building is its main venue for temporary exhibitions.

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