Martin Gayford

At Kingston Lacy, Dorset (right): Rubens’s ‘Portrait of a Noblewoman with a Dwarf’, 1606

The countryside contains enough show-stopping paintings to rival the National Gallery

27 August 2016 9:00 am

Martin Gayford says that summer is the perfect time to view the show-stopping art in Britain’s stately homes, which adds up to an alternative National Gallery

The Capability Brown-landscaped garden at Prior Park, near Bath, and the first know image of a railway line, from a drawing by Anthony Walker, 1750

Capability Brown is Britain's most influential – and pernicious – artist

20 August 2016 9:00 am

In a piece of light verse from the 1770s ‘Dame Nature’ — out strolling ‘one bright day’ — bumps into…

‘Todo Custo’, 2015, Caroline Achaintre

What’s the avant-garde up to? Recycling (itself) and baffling (me)

13 August 2016 9:00 am

One overcast afternoon in late July I took a train to Norfolk. It seemed a good time and place to…

‘Untitled’, c.1971, by William Eggleston

What makes William Eggleston's ordinary photographs so extraordinary?

6 August 2016 9:00 am

In 1965 William Eggleston took the first colour photograph that, he felt, really succeeded. The location was outside a supermarket…

One of the two bronze statues of Greek warriors found in the sea off Riace, on display for the first time at the presidential palace in Rome, 1981

My pilgrimage to see the world’s greatest male nudes

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Initially it must have been a nasty surprise. On 16 August 1972 an amateur scuba diver named Stefano Mariottini was…

‘New York Street with Moon’, 1925, by Georgia O’Keeffe

The over-exposure of Georgia O’Keeffe

16 July 2016 9:00 am

In 1927, Georgia O’Keeffe announced that she would like her next exhibition to be ‘so magnificently vulgar that all the…

Bologna’s core: grand in the renaissance manner

Bologna with Gilbert & George

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Sooner or later, no matter where you are travelling on Italian railways, you are likely to pass through Bologna Centrale.…

‘The Deluge’, 1920, by Winifred Knights

Piero della Francesca meets Dalí: Winifred Knights at Dulwich Picture Gallery reviewed

9 July 2016 9:00 am

‘Hidden beauty is best (half seen), faces turned away.’ So noted a young English painter named Winifred Knights in 1924.…

Birthday card from Frank Auerbach to Lucian Freud

You can tell a lot from the paintings painters owned, as this National Gallery show proves

25 June 2016 8:00 am

‘In the end, nothing goes with anything,’ Lucian Freud remarked one afternoon years ago. ‘It’s your taste that puts things…

‘Babel’, 2001, by Cildo Meireles

It’s time to split the Tate again

18 June 2016 9:00 am

In 1992 I wrote a column that was published under the headline ‘It’s Time to Split the Tate’. To my…

‘New Hoover Quik Broom, New Hoover Celebrity IV’, 1980, by Jeff Koons

Like Rubens, Jeff Koons’s work is about repetition, fertility and sex

11 June 2016 9:00 am

At one time, Damien Hirst was fond of remarking that art should deal with the Gauguin questions. Namely, ‘Where do…

Buried treasure: an archaeologist diver brushes clear a bovid jaw discovered in Aboukir Bay

The treasures of Alexandria revealed: British Museum’s Sunken cities reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

It was not so unusual for someone to turn into a god in Egypt. It happened to the Emperor Hadrian’s…

‘Oh god, ma tutto occupato’ (Ach herrje, ma tutto occupato), 2016, by Georg Baselitz

As he approaches 80, the German master Georg Baselitz contemplates the end

21 May 2016 9:00 am

‘In many ways,’ Georg Baselitz muses, ‘I behaved against the grain of the times I grew up in.’ The era…

Satirical diptych, 1520–1530, anonymous Flemish artist

This Parisian exhibition has rewritten the story of art

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Why do we put one work of art beside another? For the most part museums and galleries tend to stick…

‘The Haystack’, late April 1844, by William Fox Talbot

How a Liberal MP's inability to draw led him to invent photography

30 April 2016 9:00 am

William Henry Fox Talbot had many accomplishments. He was Liberal MP for Chippenham; at Cambridge he won a prize for…

Detail of mosaic depicting the martyrdom of Saints Castus and Cassius, 12th century, at the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily

Norman Sicily was a multicultural paradise – but it didn’t last long

9 April 2016 9:00 am

There are lessons to be learned from the disintegration of this once majestic multicultural Norman kingdom, says Martin Gayford

Unchanging: Florence’s skyline and the Arno

Botticelli’s jokes and the quarrelsome, creative spirit of Florence

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Once, it seems, Sandro Botticelli played a trick on a neighbour. Next door was a weaver who possessed eight looms.…

Wooden model of a brewing and baking workshop, Egypt, c.2000 bc, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Ancient Egypt’s obsession with death was in fact a preoccupation with life

2 April 2016 9:00 am

The Fitzwilliam Museum is marking its bicentenary with an exhibition that takes its title from Agatha Christie: Death on the…

‘Wall Street, New York’, 1915, by Paul Strand

A lot of art is trickery - and all the better for it

26 March 2016 9:00 am

One day, in the autumn of 1960, a young Frenchman launched himself off a garden wall in a suburban street…

‘La Vecchia’ (c.1506) by Giorgione

RA’s Giorgione show is so rich it’s worth returning to several times

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Walter Sickert was once shown a room full of paintings by a proud collector, who had purchased them on the…

'Group IX/SUW, No. 17. The Swan, No. 17' (1914-5) by Hilma af Klint

Is this female Swedish painter a major rediscovery - or a minor footnote?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

In 1896, a group of five young Swedish women artists began to meet regularly in order to access mystical zones…

'Visions of the Hereafter' by Hieronymus Bosch

Hell made fun – the joy of Hieronymus Bosch

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The 20th-century painter who called himself Balthus once proposed that a monograph about him should begin with the words ‘Balthus…

‘Portrait of a Young Man’ by Giorgione

Renaissance master? Rascal? Thief? In search of Giorgione

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Question-marks over attribution are at the heart of a forthcoming Giorgione exhibition. Martin Gayford sifts through the evidence

‘Untitled (Oxidation Painting)’, 1978, by Andy Warhol

Warhol the traditionalist: the Ashmolean Museum show reviewed

6 February 2016 9:00 am

When asked the question ‘What is art?’, Andy Warhol gave a characteristically flip answer (‘Isn’t that a guy’s name?’). On…

‘Nympheas (Waterlilies)’, 1914–15, by Claude Monet

The link between herbaceous borders and the avant-garde

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Philip Larkin once remarked that Art Tatum, a jazz musician given to ornate, multi-noted flourishes on the keyboard, reminded him…