Inspirational art

Spectacular displays at the National Museum of Scotland. Picture: Julie Bull

Spectacular displays at the National Museum of Scotland. Picture: Julie Bull

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it was the great writer and dictionary compiler Dr Johnson who famously said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.

The same could be said just as easily of artists and the National Museum of Scotland. If you cannot find inspiration for something to draw or paint within its many galleries, then you might as well pack up and go home to watch TV.

So the Chambers Street museum is the perfect place for a festive art competition with the event now firmly established as a popular fixture in its calendar. The museum provides all the basic materials you might need, plenty of encouragement from its staff and a world of inspiration.

Let the museum’s giant Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton transport your imagination to Jurassic times, its stuffed elephant and giraffe take you to India or the African plains ot its outer space exhibits show you another world entirely.

This year there are ten new art and science galleries from which to take inspiration. Design your own clothes inspired by a 1969 felt coat by Zandra Rhodes or the cat walk creations of Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. From the world of science, the giant copper accelerating cavity from the CERN research centre in Switzerland might send your mind racing or aviation pioneer Percy Pilcher’s record breaking Hawk glider might take you on a flight of fancy.

These galleries provide a showcase for works by some of the great artists so you can take inspirtation straight from their designs. Among its treasured artefacts are rare Wedgwood plates designed by the Leith-born “father of pop art” Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and a glass sculpture of a goat by Pablo Picasso entitled Capra.

People of all ages and abilities are welcome to join the Christmas Art Competition. Entry is free and there’s no need to book in advance, just turn up at the Grand Gallery on Level One. The competition is on today, Thursday and Friday at 10.30am-4.30pm.