Five Paintings in Edinburgh That Might Make Ian Rankin Pull Off a Heist

Alison Watt’s Still at Old St. Paul’s Church

This is an extraordinary contemporary painting.  Watt, resident in Edinburgh, made an early name for herself through her portraits, but grew more interested in textiles and began to paint—with wonderful verisimilitude—the folds in pieces of (predominantly white) cloth.  These luminous paintings are full of mystery and wonder.  Still comprises four large panels, which together form one huge painting of something resembling a shroud.  The painting currently sits above an altar in a church behind the main railway terminus in Edinburgh.  It is not part of the normal tourist itinerary, but it is worth a detour.  As you stare at Watt’s work, you will be filled with a sense of peace.  It is a meditation as much as a painting.—Ian Rankin

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