Our Guide To Edinburgh Art Festival 2023
August 02, 2023
For your planned trip to Scotland’s capital this year, the art festival has much to offer both to visitors to the city and residents. Famous the world over, the Edinburgh Art Festival is an exciting month, where artists come together to showcase their best work, engage in lively discussions, and help hold a spotlight on emerging artistic talent.
We’ve put together a guide for our welcomed guests to allow you to get the most out of the festival and the experience of visiting Edinburgh.
Exhibitions at Edinburgh Art Festival 2023
This year, the art festival is set to become one of the most expansive yet, with the 19th edition of the festival attracting 55 different projects spanning 35 different venues around the city. As The Witchery is at the heart of the Old Town, we’ll highlight the events within the boundaries of Edinburgh Old Town to begin with, giving you plenty to explore right on our doorstep.
Art Exhibitions in Edinburgh’s Old Town
The Prague-born photographer brings her photography exhibition to the Stills Centre for Photography from Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm - running from the 12th August through to the 7th of October. This exhibition features some of her best work from her 40 years as a photographer with her theme focussing on pictures about childhood and the life of children.
Jesse Jones: The Tower
Jesse Jones presents the second part in her trilogy that began with Tremble Tremble. The Tower explores the dark history of women deemed ‘heretics’ and burned at the stake before the official witch trials began in the 17th century. Her work is based upon the writings of Christian mystics, offering a chilling twist of truth to her tale. This exhibition is available at the Talbot Rich Gallery from 24th June to 30th September, every day, 10am-5pm (during August).
When the Apple Ripens: Peter Howson at 65: A Retrospective
Prolific artist Peter Howon will attend the City Art Centre in Market Street between 27th May and October 1st, featuring an exhibition that showcases over 100 works. With four decades of work on display, you can fervour in the wonder of his paintings that detail Biblical subjects, the Bosnian War, and Glasgow Vagrants among other themes such as his more modern responses to COVID-19 and the Ukrainian War.
Shifting Vistas: 250 Years of Scottish Landscape
Beginning during the art festival will be a City Art Centre mainstay until 2nd June 2024; an exhibition dedicated to the world renowned beauty of Scottish landscapes. The exhibition features some of the best landscape paintings created in the past 250 years by over 30 different artists including Alexander Nasmyth, William Gillies, John Lavery, SJ Peploe, and many more.
Beyond the Little Black Dress
From the 1st of July through to the 29th October 2023, the art festival welcomes Beyond the Little Black Dress to the National Museum of Scotland. This exhibition is ideal for lovers of fashion as it explores the power of black from classic garment designs to contemporary catwalk creations. With over 60 garments on display, this is a fantastic opportunity to view fashion from across the 20th century like never before. Lay eyes on pieces from Dior and Jean Muir, Gareth Pugh, Maximilian and more.
Rising Tide: Art & Environment in Oceania
A mainstay exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland will make its debut during the art festival this year. From the 12th of August through to the 14th of April 2024, Rising Tide will exhibit art about climate change and the dire impact it's having on Oceanic climates; particularly on Indigenous Australians and Pacific Islanders.
Art Exhibitions in Edinburgh’s New Town
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize saw over 4,000 entries from across the globe, spanning 62 countries. From the 17th June to 10th September you can experience a curation of images chosen as winners of the prize at the National Galleries of Scotland. Tackling everything from queerness to daily lockdown life, 51 portraits from 36 artists are on display including work from renowned artists Finn Wolfhard and Marcus Rashford.
Andrew Cranston: Never A Joiner
Hailing from Glasgow, the native Andrew Cranston displays some of his best work between 17th June and 17th September, Monday through Saturday. Featuring original artwork on linen-bound book covers among other things, Cranston’s work is distinguished by his manipulation of materials to create something truly unique.
Grayston Perry: Smash Hits
On 22nd July, the National Galleries of Scotland welcomed Grayston Perry’s Smash Hits exhibition which will remain accessible daily between 10am and 5pm until 12th November 2023. Perry is known for tackling complex ideas in a fun and accessible way; with pieces commenting on everything from masculinity to religion and much more. This year’s exhibition marks the biggest ever exhibition of his work in his full 40 year long career.
Explore The Festival & Indulge in 5-Star Opulence
Are any of these catching your eye? You can find out much more about the Art Festival and every single exhibition that’s on via the official website.
Choose to stay at one of the most luxurious hotels Edinburgh has to offer; right in the heart of the Old Town at the foot of Edinburgh Castle grounds. The Witchery is the perfect way to stay when exploring the festival; stay in a work of art while you explore works of art!