Martin Gayford

‘Bed’, 1955, by Robert Rauschenberg

The first half is essential – the second much less so: Tate's Robert Rauschenberg reviewed

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Robert Rauschenberg, like Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, was a ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’. Unlike Shakespeare’s character, however, he made…

Frédéric Bouchot’s ‘L’envie’. From Paris comique, livre album (1842). Illustration from The Silhouette from the 18th Century to the present Day

The best art books of 2016

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Suitably for a year so full of cataclysms and disturbing portents, 2016 is the quincentenary of the death of Hieronymus…

‘Scenes of the Private and Public Life of the Animals’, 1842, by J.J. Grandville

An entertaining show at Marian Goodman Gallery – where the joke’s on us

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Ernest Hemingway loved going to the zoo, but not on Sundays. The reason, he explained, was that, ‘I don’t like…

‘Study of Two Blossoming Branches of Almond Trees’, early February 1890, Saint-Rémy

Is this newly discovered Van Gogh sketchbook real?

19 November 2016 9:00 am

Vincent van Gogh spent a remarkably short span of time in the southern French town of Arles. The interval between…

‘The Skeleton Painter’, 1896, by James Ensor

Was James Ensor’s secret that he didn’t really have one?

5 November 2016 9:00 am

On 2 August 1933 one of the more improbable meetings of the 20th century took place when Albert Einstein had…

Visionary: ‘Battle of Germany’, 1944, by Paul Nash

Wonderfully mellow, rich and strange: Paul Nash at Tate Britain reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

In 1932 Paul Nash posed the question, is it possible to ‘go modern’ and still ‘be British?’ — a conundrum…

‘Portrait of Lee Miller as l’Arlésienne’, 1937, by Pablo Picasso

Was Picasso making fun of the subjects of his portraits?

22 October 2016 9:00 am

As a chat-up line it was at least unusual. On 8 January 1927, a 46-year-old man approached a young woman…

Hollywood lighting: ‘The Taking of Christ’ (1602) by Caravaggio. Photo: The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Caravaggio blasts everything else off the walls in the National Gallery’s new show

15 October 2016 9:00 am

We don’t know what Caravaggio himself would have made of Beyond Caravaggio, the new exhibition at the National Gallery which…

‘An indefinite, half attained, unimaginable sublimity ...that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant’:
‘Blue Poles’, 1952, by Jackson Pollock

Majestic, exhilarating and overpowering: Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionism reviewed

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Martin Gayford is dazzled by the scale, majesty and visual power of the Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionism show

Giuseppe Penone, one of the members of the arte povera school of art, excavating the trunk of a tree

The 20th century's last art movement

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Martin Gayford talks to the men behind arte povera, who took modern art back to the natural world and the past

‘The Sombre Malembo, God of the Crossroads’, 1943, by Wifredo Lam

This large Tate Modern exhibition is cruel to Wifredo Lam

17 September 2016 9:00 am

‘My painting is an act of decolonisation,’ declared Wifredo Lam. These are the first words you read on entering the…

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…