Opened in 1996, the Gallery of Modern Art is housed in a neoclassical building in Royal Exchange Square in the heart of Glasgow city centre. Built in 1778 as the townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw, a wealthy Glasgow Tobacco Lord who made his fortune through the triangular slave trade, the building has undergone a series of different uses. It was bought in 1817 by the Royal Bank of Scotland who later moved onto Buchanan Street; it then became the Royal Exchange. Reconstruction for this use was undertaken by David Hamilton between 1827 and 1832 and resulted in many additions to the building, namely the Corinthian pillars to the Queen Street facade, the cupola above and the large hall to the rear of the old house.
Since its opening in 1996, the gallery has hosted several million visitors. It has a dedicated Education and Access studio, facilitating workshops and artists talks and in the basement a Learning Library. The building also contains a café, free Internet access terminals, multimedia, art, and general book-lending facilities. Exhibits include works by David Hockney, Sebastião Salgado, and Andy Warhol as well as Scottish artists such as John Bellany and Ken Currie.
The mirrored pediment on the exterior of the building is by artist Niki de Saint Phalle, entitled Tympanum (1996). Saint Phalle also installed the mirrored vestibule to the gallery.
In front of the gallery, on the Queen Street pavement, stands an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington sculpted by Carlo Marochetti in 1844. The statue usually has a traffic cone on its head; for many years the authorities regularly removed cones, only for them to be replaced. The jauntily placed cone has come to represent, particularly in tourist guidebooks, the city's light-hearted attitude to authority.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.