Let us haste to Kelvingrove

To Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum yesterday along with thousands of other people each determined to make sure it was open once again.

Of course, I had a sneak preview a month ago when I went there for a press-call with the Lord Provost. I could see then that the place was looking good.

The highlights for me yesterday included seeing again the urgency of the angel in the Botticelli Annunciation that is there, looking at the Scottish Colourists anew having encountered them in both Perth and at the University of Stirling and making sure that the Dali back where it should be.

I remember going to Kelvingrove as a child. (All the adults there yesterday remembered going to Kelvingrove as a child). The Dali is back at the end of a long collonade. Its position was always somehow integral to the experience and it was never satisfactory in St Mungo’s Museum, where it has been for 13 years.

At the end of the opposite collonade there is a fabulous modern self-portrait of a man who has the outline of a cross behind him. Hanging this on the opposite side of the gallery to the Dali is utterly inspired. We are invited so very clearly to ask who it is that we seek when we approach the crucifixion, God in Christ or God in ourselves.

The most magical aspect of yesterday’s visit was not the objects, the paintings, the galleries or even the building itself. It was the palpable sense of ownership. Kelvingrove is Glasgow’s fifth cathedral. A holy and much cherished space for everyone. This week many thousands of people have hastened to Kelvingrove and each knows the truth – if I belong to Glasgow, Kelvingrove belongs to me. 


  1. Anonymous says

    I drove past it this afternoon and was enormously well pleased to see huge crowds of people picnicking and generally milling about outside. I almost felt as though the building was smiling benignly! I really should get out more.

    I was supposed to be visiting it on Saturday, but I’m off to the river festival instead, so Kelvingrove will have to wait a wee bit longer. Oh, the anticipation …….!

  2. Anonymous says

    Did you meet Kelvin again?
    Kelvin, Did you reaquaint yourself with Kelvin the baby elephant again?

    I must really visit it again, but will it probably have to wait until later in the summer. I look forward to attending a concert there – preferably with the Organ.

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