Before I moved here, I had never heard of The Glasgow Boys, a late 19th century art movement in, yes, Glasgow. I suppose you might call them late Impressionists or even Post-Impressionists. They were inspired by the then Glasgow-based James McNeil Whistler (he of "Whistler's Mother"-fame) but also by French realist art. My favourite Glasgow Boy is undoubtedly E.A. Hornel whose collaboration with G. Henry, "The Druids Bringing In the Mistletoe", you can see on the left (or at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum). It is such an strange, unsettling painting filled with arcane symbolism, and up close you can see the layers of paint smeared upon the canvas. It is not a beautiful painting nor is it particular skilled in a strictly technical sense - but it stays with you. I actually prefer Hornel's Japanese paintings where he becomes almost abstract when depicting kimonos and Japanese gardens, but "Druids" is arguably when he first sets off on his own path.
Later this year Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery will be showing a major exhibition on The Glasgow Boys (which will travel to London, I believe), but if you are interested in learning more about the Glasgow Boys, the late 19th century arts scene in Scotland, or simply want to know more about Scottish culture, I can recommend A.L. Kennedy's radio programme (which also features Alasdair Gray). I am not sure if it will be available outside the UK although I remember listening to Radio 4 whilst in Denmark..
Yesterday I received a lovely email from a long-lost, but dearly-remembered Danish friend. Coupled with the sunshine and the promise of spring, I am almost cheerful today.