The paintings in this gallery are primarily European, and provide superb examples of four centuries of creativity. In 1860, the Dundee Art Collector, Peter Carmichael wrote: "It’s a queer hobby, the desire to possess pictures, and requires a tight bridle hand to enable one, once mounted, to keep at a moderate pace." Carmichael's quote hints at the passion with which art collecting was pursued by Dundee's early nineteenth century collectors. They bought at auctions, from dealers, and from exhibitions to develop large private collections. Ultimately, many collectors bequeathed favourite works to establish Dundee’s permanent art collection. Many of the paintings here reflect Dundee collectors' early taste for historic works by Dutch and Italian 'Old Masters'. These are grand works depicting biblical stories or scenes inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. In some cases, paintings that were believed to be by important artists when they were acquired are now 'attributed to' anonymous artists working in a similar style to famous masters. For example, The Lamentation over the dead Christ, was previously believed to be by Ludovico Carracci. Now, it is attributed to Girolamo de Magistro of the Neapolitan School. Look for the Still Life with a Lobster, Fruit, Silver and China Ware to the left of the main entrance door. This work was painted by Abraham van Beyeren in around 1660. Van Beyeren was one of the foremost Dutch still life painters of the 17th century. He was best known for paintings that are called 'banketjes' or Banquet pieces. This painting is considered the finest of Van Beyeren’s works in a Scottish collection. It depicts a lavish arrangement of expensive foodstuffs, displayed alongside silver, glass and porcelain serving pieces. The depiction of the different surfaces of these materials is masterful. If you look closely at the wine jug, the reflection includes a self-portrait of the artist. The European paintings are part of Dundee’s fine art collection, which is recognised as being of national significance. Once you’ve finished exploring the Dundee and The World Gallery, please walk down the Grand stair and enter the gallery on the right called the Making of Modern Dundee.
The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum is situated in the centre of Dundee. The Museum and Art Gallery originally known as the Albert Institute was opened in 1867 as a memorial to Prince Albert. In 2005 The McManus closed for a major refurbishment, reopening again on the 28th February 2010. We celebrated our 150th Anniversay in 2017 with a year of celebration. In 2020 we were awarded Visitor Attraction of the Year by Visit Scotland. The McManus has 8 galleries, which are laid out on 2 floors. Visitors can embark on a journey through 400 million years, and witness how a small settlement developed into the City of Dundee as it is today. From exhibits relating to the life of early man in the area, stunning paintings and decorative art through to artefacts from industries past and present, the City's collections, many of which are recognised as being of national significance, give an insight into Dundee and its people.