The Edinburgh Art Festival, which was founded in 2004, has launched its biggest, boldest and most ambitious programme, with over 45 major exhibitions showing in 30 of the historic city's cultural establishments.
Below is our pick of some of the most interesting shows from leading international artists, which goes to show the sheer breadth and depth of thought that has gone into curating this spectacular cultural event.
Dieter Roth: Diaries at the Fruitmarket Gallery
August 2nd – October 14th
Dieter Roth was a fascinating artist who worked across a number of mediums, from painting to sculpture to, most interestingly of all, books.
The latter is explored in this show, with the late German artist's diaries being shown for the first time.
As may be expected, Roth's diaries were not conventional by any standard, splattered with paint, the entries revealing an inability to stop thinking.
It proves to be an intimate experience, all at once heartbreaking and inspiring. It's what you do with your life that counts.
Melvin Moti: One Thousand Points of Light at the National Museum of Scotland
20 July 20th – October 21st
Representing his first solo show in the UK, Melvin Moti's films are so spectacularly colourful you would be forgiven for thinking they were watercolour paintings.
In this exhibition, the Dutch artist looks at what messages rocks are trying to circulate through their absorption of UV light, which is then modified into a kaleidoscope of enchanting hues.
These colours are usually invisible to the human eye, revealing that beauty is most certainly not superficial.
Picasso and Modern British Art at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
August 4th – November 4th
Any mention of Pablo Picasso in a show is certain to arouse interest: the Spanish giant remains one of the most influential, popular and intriguing artists to have emerged in the entire history of art.
Here we see the gallery explore Picasso's long association with Britain, including the country's verdict on the genius and the influence he had on artists including Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.
Organised by Tate Britain, the spectacular show is rich in its offering, composed as it is of works by Picasso and British artists. It is near enough faultless.
Cheer Up! It’s not the end of the world…
August 2nd – September 8th
The idea of the end of the world is a concept that has long fascinated humanity, be it from a religious, personal or creative point of view.
This aptly timed exhibition – 2012 has been marked as the "definitive" year Armageddon actually takes place – showcases works by seminal artists who have sought to explore this catastrophic event.
The end of the world however, as is revealed in the show, is not necessarily the literal manifestation of fire and brimstone, but simply the end of one era and the beginning of another. It proves to be an enlightening experience.
Philip Guston: Late Paintings at Inverleith House
July 25th – October 7th
When you're part of the incomparable New York School that cut a cultural revolution during the fifties and sixties, you've got artistic clout.
Philip Guston, along with Jackson Pollock, was one of the early proponents of Abstract Expressionism, but after leaving the city, returned to more figurative pieces.
However, as this show details, it wasn't a straightforward homecoming to classics. Instead Guston dedicated the rest of his life to cartoon-inspired art, which was ridiculed widely when first shown in the seventies.
Vindicated by history, Guston's later works have since come to be seen as a departure from art's shackles. As William De Kooning presciently observed at the time, they revelled in artistic freedom.
Edinburgh Art Festival runs until September 2nd, with many exhibitions continuing beyond that.