Highlights from our world-class Dutch and Flemish collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Rubens and Van Dyck.
In 1588, the seven predominantly Protestant provinces of the Northern Netherlands separated from those in the South, still ruled by the Catholic Spanish monarchy. Holland was the largest province, with Amsterdam the commercial and cultural hub of the newly formed Dutch Republic. It quickly grew, eventually dominating world trade – including in enslaved people – with its substantial shipping fleet. Economic success fuelled the production of art on an unprecedented scale, from cheap prints to paintings, and from precious-metal objects to tapestries. This prosperity, combined with the broad range of items on offer, enabled many people across society to purchase artworks.
Artists in the Northern and Southern Netherlands in this period increasingly specialised in specific ‘genres’ or kinds of painting, such as portraiture, landscape, still life and scenes from everyday life. Most paintings were of modest size – certainly when compared to many Italian paintings of this time – so that they could be displayed in people’s houses. Although artists north and south of the political divide developed distinct subjects and styles, there was much exchange between the two countries, and many painters worked in both areas.
We are currently working on improving our galleries. During this time some rooms will be closed and some facilities will be temporarily removed. There will be limited disabled access to some areas.
There is limited on street parking close by including for those with a blue badge.
The Scottish National Gallery can be found just off Princes Street in the city centre.
Friends of the Galleries get free unlimited entry to all exhibitions, and enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including early exhibition access, special events and 10% discount in our cafes.
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