Vettriano was a real show of strength in city

KELVINGROVE Museum and Art Gallery is one of Glasgow's - and Scotland's - standout visitor attractions.

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With more than one million going through its doors every year, it is also Scotland's most popular free attraction, as well as being the UK's most visited museum outside of London.

This is thanks to hosting blockbuster events such the Jack Vettriano retrospective. Many Evening Times readers will have taken the time over the past few months to enjoy his work and I loved it so much I visited twice.

With my parliamentary office directly across the road in Argyle Street, I could hardly have missed such a great opportunity.

Having closed on Sunday, final figures reveal it has become the Gallery's most visited exhibition, with more than 132,000 people attending since it opened in late September.

The works of Fife-born Vettriano have become among the most iconic and recognisable pieces of art in Britain in recent years.

For fans of his work, this particular event featured more than 100 paintings, spanning his career, including some of his best known works as well as lesser-known pieces.

Gathered from a huge range of public and private collections across the world, the exhibition was also lent items from the private collections of figures such as Holywood star Jack Nicholson and lyricist Tim Rice.

The event included footage of the artist talking about his working class Fife background and how he taught himself to paint.

This provided a fascinating insight into his development and included discussion of the processes he has used over the years to produce such a huge number of iconic images.

As a fellow Fifer, I particularly enjoy some of the landscapes used in Vettriano's work.

Leven beach - only two miles from where I grew up - is a common sight in his works, and always reminds me of home.

Much of his other work is decidedly atmospheric - some hugely sexual, other scenes like a slice of film-noir on canvas.

I know that much of the art-establishment has not taken to Vettriano.

Some reviews by art critics seem to take on a personal tone far beyond an appreciation or otherwise of the art itself, with others suggesting Kelvingrove Gallery was making a mistake by giving such recognition to this artist's work.

But what is clear is that his work has a resonance and a relevance to millions around the world and the huge success of his retrospective at Kelvingrove highlights just how valued he is by his home audience.

I hope the thousands of people who the exhibition pulled into the gallery also took time during their visit to see the excellent permanent collection on display throughout the rest of the gallery and museum.

From Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross to the Glasgow Boys collection, Kelvingrove is worth visiting time and time again.

Arts and Entertainment

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