Youth with split apple
The University safeguards magnificent collections of paintings, drawings and prints collected throughout its history, from a c1500 portrait of the founder, Bishop William Elphinstone, to the 21st century reclining bronze figure of a student on the lawns of Kings College.
Our large collection of paintings has been amassed over five centuries. Many are portraits depicting former professors, benefactors and other notables. Today, a small selection lines the walls of the Elphinstone Hall at the heart of the King’s College campus. The adjacent Linklater Rooms houses a collection of works by 20th century Scottish artists, building on an original bequest by Eric Linklater of works by the Scottish Colourists.
The University's 17th century 'black paintings' are the largest, oldest oil-on-canvas paintings to have survived in Scotland. It is very likely that they were produced as temporary decorations during the brief and troubled reign of Charles II as King of Scots in the 1650s. Temporary paintings like these were the 'billboards' of their day, painted to mark important royal and civic events. Since most were then thrown away, the five large examples in King's College are very rare indeed.
Today we are continuing this tradition by enriching the King’s College and Foresterhill campuses with thought-provoking art designed to challenge, intrigue, and inspire. Here are some of the new additions to our two campuses:
Youth with split apple is a new landmark of King’s College, positioned in front of New King's building. The bronze installation by award-winning sculptor Kenny Hunter and unveiled in September 2005 draws on thousands of years of sculptural tradition in Greek, Mexican, Indian and Chinese art to demonstrate the central role that students have always played in the life and soul of the University.
Exposed Painting (Dioxin Violet) is a new painting created by Callum Innes specially for King’s College Chapel. It has been made with the key features of the Chapel’s light, shape, and architecture very much in mind, and gifted to the University by the artist. The painting is a bold abstract composition of rich violets – reflecting the colours in the stained glass windows - contrasted with white and black.
Northern Light, is the first major piece by sculptor George Wyllie to be created for Aberdeen and follows from the artist’s 2007 sculpture, Cosmic Reach. Northern Light reflects its position outside the New Carnegie Court hall of residence at Hillhead student village, symbolising aspiration in a place of learning. The installation is set in a base of rocks and pebbles from which three stainless steel poles rise to culminate in a helix within which is set a large rock.
Case is a bronze work by sculptor Steve Dilworth as a new focal point in the busy courtyard between the Old Brewery and Taylor Building, just off the High Street of Old Aberdeen. This elegant, organic form resembles a butterfly’s pupa, or the husk of a pine cone, suggesting ideas of protection, growth and maturation.
Diagram is a large bronze relief by Orkney-based sculptor Sam MacDonald which dominates the reception area of the Institute of Medical Sciences at Foresterhill. Diagram juxtaposes images of a nautilus shell and a diagram of the Golden Section, and points to common ground between the artist and the scientist.