Three exhibitions to see during Edinburgh Fringe

  • 4 August 2017

As the performing arts world decamps to Scotland for the 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we select three exhibitions at the city’s national galleries to visit this August.

 © Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of Edinburgh Fringe, filling the city every summer with more than 3,000 shows and thousands more culture seekers. But as thrilling as it is to venue-hop and stumble upon eye-opening performances, there always comes a moment when you need a spot of tranquillity – and the city’s galleries provide space for reflection. Here are three fascinating shows to check out if you’re in Scotland’s capital this summer.


Ed Ruscha

From Edinburgh’s cobbled passages to the heat and colour of California: Ed Ruscha’s work explores the language and culture of the American West Coast, and several of his 1960s and 70s paintings are on show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art as part of this ARTIST ROOMS display. The collection spans his career, including a later, more brooding series of works titled The End, as well as drawings and photographs. Often commenting on the vacuity or absurdity of Hollywood, his style shares much in common with Pop art but retains a singular, wry irony.

Caravaggio, The Taking of Christ, 1602

Beyond Caravaggio

The first exhibition of works by Caravaggio and his followers ever staged in Scotland, Beyond Caravaggio includes several of the Italian titan’s paintings as well as works by many ‘Caravaggisti’ – those who championed his style and sought to continue it. Caravaggio amassed admirers all over Europe both during his life and after his death in 1610, and this exhibition demonstrates their diversity and calibre, including work by names such as Orazio Gentileschi (Italy), Jusepe de Ribera (Spain), Valentin de Boulogne (France) and Ter Brugghen (Netherlands).


Looking Good: The Male Gaze From Van Dyck to Lucian Freud

Inspired by Van Dyck’s final self-portrait, which was saved for the nation in 2014 and makes its final stop of a three-year tour in Edinburgh, this exhibition looks at representations of the male image from the 16th century to now. From courtiers and dandies to modern-day celebrities, it explores fashion and grooming as indicators of identity and status, as well as contemporary expressions of gender and sexuality. Spanning painting, drawing, sculpture and photography, it includes Robert Mapplethorpe’s famous image of an enigmatic young man, Smutty, and Sarah Dunn’s portrait of actor Gerard Butler.

Tags: ExhibitionsWhat to see