Gallery of the Day: Inspired by Nature

December 16, 2011


Continuing with the series of guides for the new National Museum of Scotland galleries, Inspired by Nature is the other top floor atrium gallery in the World Cultures stack and sits next to Artistic Legacies:

Artists and makers have always looked to nature as inspiration for their work. Depicting, imagining or celebrating nature, their works express human concerns, other worlds or the divine. While nature continues to stimulate artists, contemporary work is often a statement about human impact on the natural world. (gallery intro panel)

‘Inspiration’ is interpreted in different ways in this gallery, e.g. the section ‘Art and Nature’ includes representations of animals, flowers and landscapes, whilst ‘Nature Used’ looks at how artists use natural materials as a source of inspiration. Many cultures also have beliefs that are closely linked to the natural world, such as supreme beings with powers derived from nature or art as an expression of the devine, which is reflected in the sections ‘Imagined Worlds’ and ‘Seeing the Devine’. The gallery also includes an interesting display – ‘Nature Reflected’ – of contemporary artists’ works, who e.g. have used recycled materials to make a statement about human impact on the natural world.

Click on the thumbnails to view the images in full size.


  • Sri Lankan dance masks
  • Japanese netsuke carvings
  • Headdress made from blue kingfisher feathers
  • Sustainable guitar made of ‘Biofiber Wheat’

Things to do

  • Discover the different meanings animals and flowers have for people around the world on the turn disc interactive.
  • Listen to a fable, story or poem at the listening post.


* Please note that these are my own personal highlights and not necessarily recommended as such by the museum.


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