David Beckham to be hung in Scottish National Portrait Gallery

David Beckham will join Scottish icons like Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie.David Beckham will join Scottish icons like Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
David Beckham will join Scottish icons like Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
He was a hero to millions of English football fans and the nemesis of the Tartan Army as he led the "Three Lions" into battle.

But now David Beckham is to get a starring role in one of Scotland's most prestigious art institutions - thanks to his role as a fashion icon.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star will be represented in a major new National Galleries of Scotland exhibition exploring the male image in art.

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A photograph of Beckham will be joining images of Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert Burns and Billy Connolly at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

The 41-year-old, who has graced the cover of hundreds of magazine since his first endorsement deal with Brylcreem in 1997, has been chosen to represent modern-day figures along with John Byrne, Grayson Perry, Mick Jagger and Lucian Freud.

The image of Beckham, who launched his own Scotch whisky brand two years ago, will be coming on loan to Edinburgh from the National Portrait Gallery in London.

More than 30 paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures will feature in the summer exhibition, entitled Looking Good: The Male Gaze, which will explore the evolution of male fashion style and "men's self-image" over hundreds of years.

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Scottish National Portrait Gallery director Christopher Baker said: "The exhibition will look at how men have presented themselves through portraits, grooming and fashion and how those ideas have changed from the 17th century right up to today. There will be a very rich mix of images in the show.

"The exhibition grows out of an extraordinary self-portrait of the 17th century artist Sir Anthony van Dyke. He was above all a painter, but he has depicted himself as a fashionable gentleman.

"He takes pride in not only how he can paint, but also in how he dresses, how he grooms himself.

"We wanted to look at great works in our collection but also that of the National Portrait Gallery in London and draw out key themes about how men dress, about how they present themselves through portraiture and continuities like the 17th century fascination with good grooming, and beautiful moustaches and beards, which are back in fashion today.

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"We will be entering the world of celebrity culture and icons like David Beckham, who obviously started out as a brilliant sportsman, but entered the world of fashion and became a role model for a lot of young men in that world.

"His role and the prestige that comes with him seemed to be relevant to our story, along with people like Mick Jagger, who was an outstanding musician in the 1960s, who then became a fashion icon because of the way he dressed, his lifestyle and how he projected his image into the world. That's the sort of theme we're exploring in the show.

"I really wanted to include John Byrne, because he is incredibly fastidious, he's a man who in public crafts his image beautifully, he cares about how he looks. He's actually a rather dashing figure. The message he embodies, that one can take care over how you look and present yourself to the world, was core to our theme in many ways."