The City Art Centre is gearing up to welcome huge crowds eager for a glimpse of some of Scotland’s best-loved works of art.

Scottish Art 1650-2010 will see the biggest exhibition of the City’s own nationally-recognised collection in over a decade, with more than 200 paintings, prints and sculpture by world famous Scottish artists displayed over several floors of the Market Street arts hub.

The free exhibition runs until 10 July, accompanied by a busy event programme of talks, workshops and special guided tours.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convener, said: “Edinburgh is home to an extraordinary, nationally-recognised collection of Scottish art and we are extremely proud to be the guardians of such wonderful artworks for the enjoyment of residents and our visitors. We’ll be displaying some of the city’s greatest treasures, enabling people to revisit old favourites and discover new ones.

“Scottish Art 1650-2010 contains work from some of Scotland’s finest, internationally renowned artists – on display will be key works by Ramsay, Raeburn, Nasmyth, McTaggart, the Glasgow Boys, the Scottish Colourists, Eardley, Gillies and the Edinburgh School, post-war artists including Blackadder and Bellany, and contemporaries such as Callum Innes and Toby Paterson. Seeing so much of our collection at once is a wonderful opportunity and I would urge everyone to come and see this superb exhibition – after all, these artworks belong to us all!”

Duncan MacMillan, the Scotsman’s visual arts critic, welcomed the chance for people to view so many of the City’s artworks at the City Art Centre. He said: “The fact that it [the City Art Centre] holds one of the best and most representative collections of Scottish art anywhere is too little known.”

Five floors of the City Art Centre building are being given over to Scottish Art 1650-2010, with works displayed in chronological order (earlier works on lower floors, most modern works on the highest level) and hung according the style of their period. For example, earlier works from the 17th and 18th centuries will be shown in greater density, reflecting the fashion of the time.

Prints, books and cards inspired by the exhibition will be on sale in the City Art Centre’s popular gift shop on the ground floor, which also stocks an exquisite selection of jewellery, gifts, art books and accessories.

The City of Edinburgh is home to one of the finest collections of Scottish art in the world. The Collection consists of over 4500 works, including paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture and installation art, dating from the 17th century to the present day.

The Edinburgh Collection has been acknowledged by the Scottish Government as a Recognised Collection of National Significance in a scheme managed by Museums Galleries Scotland.

It has grown over the years and is still being added to regularly through purchases, donations and bequests.

Scottish Art 1650-2010,  until 10 July 2011.

The City Art Centre, Market Street, is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12 noon to 5pm.