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Scottish art has come to form a distinctive tradition within the larger framework of British and European art, although it struggled for centuries to emerge from poverty and religious oppression. Scotland did not produce a native religious art during the Middle Ages as other European cultures did, and the Renaissance flowered only briefly at the end of the era. The ecclesiastical art that blossomed during that period under Stuart patronage suffered under the fury of the Reformation's iconoclasm. While Scottish culture diminished further during the seventeenth century after the court moved to London, it was revitalized with the onset of the Enlightenment. Artists like David Wilkie and Sir Henry Raeburn, following the general European mood, were self-consciously cosmopolitan, and stepped into international leadership roles. The formation of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art in 1826 showed that there was now an audience and a market to sustain artistic development in Scotland. The international market only expanded as the twentieth century approached, peaking with the artists of the Glasgow School of Art. Post-war and contemporary artists continued the trend - their art is not just for Scotland, it is for the world.

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