Impressionism and French Modernism

Open daily, 10am–5pm

Admission free


The display features a selection of paintings by Impressionist artists from Monet to Morisot, as well as later works by Gauguin, Cézanne and Van Gogh.

Paris was the centre of the art world in the late 19th century. The more progressive artists were interested in recording the fleeting sensations of nature, as well as the fast pace of modern life. Edgar Degas, for example, focused on figures in motion, such as racehorses, or the dancers at the Paris Opera. Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Berthe Morisot and others preferred to work out of doors, capturing the changing effects of light and weather. Morisot, however, was limited to domestic subjects, reflecting the restrictions on women of her social status.

From 1874 until 1886 the French Impressionists staged their own independent exhibitions. They influenced artists such as John Singer Sargent who applied the impressionist approach to portraiture. By the late 1880s the group began to disperse, thanks to the impact of new artistic movements. Artists such as Henri Martin and Paul Gauguin began to paint from the imagination, while Cézanne adopted a more analytical approach to landscape. Vincent van Gogh, meanwhile, developed an expressive technique derived from Neo-Impressionism, whereby the paint was applied using dots or strokes of colour.

Event accessibility

Display accessibility

The upper galleries at the National (rooms 14, 17 and 18) are currently only accessible by stairs. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank visitors for bearing with us while we create exciting new spaces for your Scottish art collection and larger and more accessible lift.

View tours of these rooms and see all the artworks on display


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Gallery facilities

Detailed information on accessibility at the National Galleries of Scotland

Our partial Changing Places toilet has all of the facilities of a full Changing Places toilet, and though the floor area meets the overall size requirement (13.54m2 minimum), it is just a little too narrow to be classed as a full Changing Places toilet.

There are a limited number of small lockers available, but there is no space to store large items of luggage.

There is limited on street parking close by including for those with a blue badge. 

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Changing places toilet
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Café
  • Restaurant
Getting here

Getting here

The National can be found just off Princes Street in the city centre.

Venue map
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

Friends go free

Friends go free

Become a Friend to enjoy unique access to the nation’s art collection with unlimited free entry to exhibitions, Friends-only exhibition previews and a 10% discount in our gallery shops & cafés.

What's on

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