What makes Scottish art Scottish? What are the threads that bind it into a single tradition? Certain stylistic features, such as the heritage of Celtic design with its emphasis on intricate pattern, recur throughout the centuries, not least in Mackintosh's Art Nouveau. But at a deeper level it emerges through themes and ideas, aspects of landscape and history to which Scottish artists have continually returned: the presence of the sea and the Highlands, the hardships of the Scottish people, incidents from Scottish culture - especially in literature and philosophy. A close connection with France has also been surprisingly persistent, from medieval times almost to the present. All these factors have formed the character of Scottish art, but at the same time it is rich in distinctive personalities and individual genius. Professor Macdonald brings these men and women vividly to life without losing sight of the wider panorama. His book is particularly opportune at a time when the issue and nature of Scottish identity has come to the foreground.
Murdo Macdonald is Professor of History of Scottish Art at the University of Dundee.
Prehistory and early history; the development of Christian art; loss and reconstruction; Classicism and Celticism; art and philosophy; 19th-century narratives; modernity and revivals; 20th-century pluralism.