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Andrew Lambirth rss

‘Livia da Porto Thiene and her daughter Deidamia’, 1552, by Veronese

The National Gallery's Veronese is the exhibition of a lifetime

19 April 2014

Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) is one of the great painters of the Venetian School, often joined in an unholy trinity with Titian and Tintoretto. But he was not Venetian, and only… Read more

Design by William Kent for a cascade at Chatsworth, c.1735–40; below, the Bute epergne, 1756, by Thomas Heming, designed by Kent

William Kent was an ideas man - the Damien Hirst of the 18th century

12 April 2014
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain Victoria and Albert Museum

How important is William Kent (1685–1748)? He’s not exactly a household name and yet this English painter and architect, apprenticed to a Hull coach-painter before he was sent to Italy… Read more

Mysteriously ravishing: ‘Santo Spirito’, 2013, by Arturo Di Stefano

It’s the whisper you’ve got to listen for in Arturo Di Stefano’s paintings

5 April 2014
Arturo Di Stefano: Fat Over Lean Purdy Hicks Gallery, 65 Hopton Street, SE1

One of the paintings in Arturo Di Stefano’s impressive new show at Purdy Hicks Gallery is called ‘Santa Croce’ and it depicts the arcaded cloister of the church in Florence… Read more

Eric Kennington's Gassed and Wounded

The great and the good and the gassed and the dead

29 March 2014
The Great War in Portraits National Portrait Gallery
Luke Elwes Adam Gallery, 67 Mortimer Street, W1 | John Street, Bath

Last week, three exhibitions celebrating the art of Germany; this week, a show commemorating the first world war fought against that great nation. In this centenary year of the beginning… Read more

‘Hercules Killing Cacus’, 1588, by Hendrik Goltzius

Upside down and right on top: the power of George Baselitz

22 March 2014
Germany Divided: Baselitz and His Generation British Museum
Renaissance Impressions: Chiaroscuro Woodcuts Royal Academy
Strange Beauty: Masters of the German Renaissance National Gallery

It’s German Season in London, and revealingly the best of three new shows is the one dealing with the most modern period: the post-second world war era of East and… Read more

'Fold’, 2012, by Richard Deacon

Richard Deacon – from Meccano into art

15 March 2014
Richard Deacon Tate Britain
Richard Hamilton Tate Modern

When I visited the Richard Deacon exhibition at Tate Millbank, there were quite a lot of single men of a certain age studying the exhibits with rapt attention — some… Read more

The Vale of York hoard, 900s.

The British Museum's Vikings: part provincial exhibit, part gripping drama

8 March 2014
Vikings: Life and Legend British Museum

Exhibitions are made for two main reasons: education and entertainment. Although I recognise the importance of education I am, by nature, a devotee of pleasure and want people to enjoy… Read more

‘Poet’s Head — O Singing God’ by Mark Shields

'At last I wasn't worried about making pictures': an interview with Mark Shields

1 March 2014

Mark Shields is a painter of considerable versatility and skill who is unable to rest on his laurels. Born in 1963 in Northern Ireland, where he still lives, he developed… Read more

‘Rhianan’, 2009, by John Kiki

Four artists you ought to know — and a famous one you can know better

22 February 2014
Liam Hanley: Land Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, SW3
Gauguin: Tales of Paradise Ordovas, 25 Savile Row, W1
James Turrell Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1
Brian Rice: Early Works 1959–70 Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street, W1
John Kiki: Myths and Goddesses Art Space Gallery, 84 St Peter’s Street, N1

In this round-up of exhibitions in London’s commercial galleries, I feature three shows of little-known but mature contemporary British artists. There is a great deal of interesting and worthwhile art… Read more

Vanitas’, mid-1650, by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

'Castiglione: Lost Genius' loses his genius in a sea of brown

15 February 2014
Castiglione: Lost Genius; Gifted: From the Royal Academy to the Queen The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
Gainsborough & the Landscape of Refinement Lowell Libson Ltd, 3 Clifford Street, W1

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609–64) was, I must admit, unknown to me until I visited this show, the only Castiglione I was properly aware of being the one who wrote The… Read more

Magnificent: ‘Ghetto Theatre’, 1920, by David Bomberg

'Uproar!' The Ben Uri gallery punches above its weight

8 February 2014
‘Uproar!’ The First 50 Years of the London Group 1913–63 Ben Uri Gallery, 108a Boundary Road, NW8

Last year saw the centenary of the London Group, a broad-based exhibiting body set up in a time of stylistic ferment in the art world as an independent alternative to… Read more

‘Red and Yellow Landscape’, 1945, by John Craxton

John Craxton was more gifted than the Fitzwilliam show suggests

1 February 2014
John Craxton: A World of Private Mystery The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

It is often said of John Craxton (1922–2009) that he knew how to live well and considered this more important than art. Perhaps there is a certain truth in this,… Read more

‘Untitled’, 2012, by Simon Ling

Painting Now doesn't represent painting now. Thank goodness

25 January 2014
Painting Now: Five Contemporary Artists Tate Britain
Euan Uglow Drawings Marlborough Fine Art, 6 Albemarle Street, W1
The Elemental North Messum’s, 8 Cork Street, W1

The death of painting has been so often foretold — almost as frequently as its renaissance — that any such prediction today is nothing short of foolhardy. Of course, painting… Read more

‘Processing the Catch, Wharf Scene, Iceland’, c.1935, by Alan Sorrell

Alan Sorrell, oddly original and shamefully neglected (till now)

18 January 2014
Alan Sorrell: A Life Reconstructed Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2

Rediscovering the unduly neglected is one of the chief excitements of those who curate exhibitions and write books. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than saluting the achievement of those… Read more

Portrait of John McEwen by John Bellany

John Bellany: potent, prolific, patchy

11 January 2014
John Bellany John McEwen

Mainstream Publishing, pp.336, £40, ISBN: 9781780576602

When John Bellany died in August last year, an odyssey that had alternately beguiled and infuriated the art world came to an end. Famously, Bellany had nearly died from liver… Read more

Unmissable: ‘The Horse, the Rider and the Clown’, 1943–4, by Matisse will go on show at Tate Modern in April

Art shows you simply mustn't miss in 2014

11 January 2014

One of the great treats of the exhibiting year will undoubtedly be Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (17 April to 7 September) at Tate Modern. The last phase of Matisse’s productive… Read more

‘Storm on Yarmouth Beach’, 1831, by Cotman

There are too few masterpieces in Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia

4 January 2014

The mood is celebratory in East Anglia: the University (UEA) marks 50 years since it opened its doors in Norwich, and the Sainsbury Centre, its visual arts flagship, is back… Read more

‘Virgin and Child’, 1958–9, by Patrick Reyntiens, St Mary’s, Hound Road, Netley Abbey

God in a stained glass window

14 December 2013

Writing about Graham Sutherland in 1950, the critic Robert Melville observed: ‘When one looks at a picture one finds oneself over the frontier or one doesn’t. Criticism has no power… Read more

‘Clown Playing a Drum’, c.1867, by Honoré Daumier

Daumier's paintings show he is at heart a sculptor

7 December 2013
Daumier (1808–1879): Visions of Paris Royal Academy
Young Dürer: Drawing the Figure The Courtauld Gallery

There hasn’t been a decent Daumier exhibition in this country for more than half a century, so art lovers have had to be content with the handful of pictures in… Read more

‘King and Queen’, 1952–3, by Henry Moore and ‘Study from Portrait of Pope Innocent X’, 1965, by Francis Bacon

In the National Gallery's Vienna show, it's Oscar Kokoschka who's the real revelation

30 November 2013
Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 National Gallery
Francis Bacon/Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone Ashmolean, Oxford

The current exhibition in the Sainsbury Wing claims to be a portrait of Vienna in 1900, but in fact offers rather an interesting survey of portraits made there from the… Read more

‘The Pond, Ditchling’ by Charles Knight - © Ditchling Museum Art + Craft

Ditchling Museum's guiding dream

23 November 2013

The charming East Sussex village of Ditchling lies at the foot of the South Downs, its narrow streets lined with ancient houses and pubs. For much of the 20th century… Read more

‘Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge’, 1859–63, by James McNeill Whistler

The painter of poetry

16 November 2013
An American in London: Whistler and the Thames Dulwich Picture Gallery

The famous court case in which Ruskin accused Whistler of ‘flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’ continues to rumble through the public response to art in this… Read more

Rowlett’s ‘Canaletto’s View, Grey Day, South Westerly Blowing the Clouds’, 2013

How China's Bayeux Tapestry differs from ours

9 November 2013
Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700–1900 V&A
Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, SW3
George Rowlett: East Kent and the River Thames Art Space Gallery, 84 St Peter’s Street, N1

The V&A’s remarkable survey of Chinese painting begins quietly with a beautiful scroll depicting ‘Court Ladies Preparing Newly Woven Silk’, from the early 12th century, which, with its bright colours,… Read more

‘Static-Dynamic Intensification’, 1923, by Paul Klee

Is Paul Klee really a great modern master?

2 November 2013
Paul Klee — Making Visible Tate Modern
When Britain Went Pop Christie’s Mayfair, 103 New Bond Street, W1

There is a school of thought that sees Paul Klee (1879–1940) as more of a Swiss watchmaker than an artist, his paintings and drawings too perfect, too contrived. Viewing this… Read more

Malcolm Morley in his studio: ‘Two words characterise my art — diversity and fidelity’

Welcome home, Malcolm Morley

26 October 2013

The Ashmolean Museum has taken the radical step of embracing contemporary art, and is currently hosting (until 30 March 2014) a mini-retrospective of Malcolm Morley’s work, curated by Sir Norman… Read more