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Martin Gayford rss

Edgar Degas - Dancer slipping on her shoe (1874)

Ladies' hats were his waterlillies - the obsessive brilliance of Edgar Degas

19 April 2014
Edgar Degas: Drawings and Pastels Christopher Lloyd

Thames and Hudson, pp.320, £24.95, ISBN: 9780500093818

Lucian Freud once said that ‘being able to draw well is the hardest thing — far harder than painting, as one can easily see from the fact that there are… Read more

Passive and bound: ‘Agnus Dei’, c.1635–40, by Zurbarán

Francisco de Zurbarán had a Hollywood sense of drama

5 April 2014
Zurbarán: Master of Spain’s Golden Age Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels

It seems suitable that just round the corner from the Zurbarán exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts is the Musée Magritte. Surrealism was in the air of 20th-century Belgium,… Read more

Two gamblers: Freud and Bacon photographed by Harry Diamond

Friends, soulmates, rivals: the double life of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

14 December 2013

Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud are likely to go down together in art history. If the link had not already been set in cement, it certainly became so at Christie’s… Read more

‘Fourteen Sunflowers’, 
 the version 
in the Neue
Pinakothek,
Munich

The Sunflowers Are Mine, by Martin Bailey - review

5 October 2013
The Sunflowers Are Mine: The Story of Van Gogh’s Masterpiece Martin Bailey

Frances Lincoln, pp.240, £25, ISBN: 9780711232983

‘How could a man who has loved light and flowers so much and has rendered them so well, how could he have managed to be so unhappy?’ This was Claude… Read more

Rubens’s ‘Three Graces’ had a disturbingly powerful effect on the art historian Kenneth Clark

The Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss, by Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard – review

16 March 2013
The Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard (eds)

Thames and Hudson, pp.264, £24.95, ISBN: 9780500238950

There is a feeling about this publication of the biter bit, or rather, the observer observed. It consists of 16 essays by leading art historians about the most significant books… Read more

Friedrich_One1

Caspar David Friedrich, by Johannes Grave

25 August 2012
Caspar David Friedrich Johannes Grave

Prestel, pp.288, 80, ISBN: 9783791346281

In October 1810, the poet and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist substantially rewrote a review submitted to a publication he edited, the Berliner Abendblätter. Indeed, as few editors would dare —… Read more

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Jerusalem Notebook

12 May 2012

Jerusalem is a wonderful city for hat-spotting. There are the black fedoras and other varieties worn  by Hassidic and ultra-orthodox Haredi Jews, sometimes magnificent in height and breadth, and there… Read more

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Currents of imagery

17 December 2011
The Book of the Wind: The Representation of the Invisible Alessandro Nova

McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp.223, 50

In the first book of his scientific-cum-philosophical poem ‘De rerum Natura’ — or ‘On the Nature of Things’ — Lucretius draws the reader’s attention to the power of invisible forces.… Read more

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21st-century pilgrims

14 August 2010

The tourists who flock to galleries in Paris, Florence and Rome are like medieval shrine-visitors, says Martin Gayford. Most don’t care about art, and are only there out of duty… Read more

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Letter from Syria

9 June 2010

No question about it, the world is becoming increasingly homogenised — not only, indeed not so much, in big things such as democracy and free trade as in small. No… Read more

Diary

10 March 2010

For years I’ve been trying to persuade friends and acquaintances that art criticism is a job with an arduous, physical side. Last Wednesday, for example, between 6 p.m. and 8.45… Read more

A Yorkshire genius in love with his iPhone

24 June 2009

‘Who would ever have thought,’ asked David Hockney, ‘that drawing would return via the telephone?’ It is a typical Hockney point, wry, unexpected, connecting high-tech with low — and in… Read more

Worshipping a golden calf

22 October 2008

Martin Gayford considers whether we are in the final, pre-popping stages of an art bubble Journalists arriving for the press view of Renaissance Faces at the National Gallery last week… Read more

Wanted! Lost portraits

9 July 2008

Criminals can turn into detectives: consider the career of Eugène-François Vidocq, thief, convict and subsequently head of the Paris Sûreté. And, as we have seen recently in London, political journalists… Read more

Exhibition suspicion

14 May 2008

Martin Gayford questions the point of art shows. Should they educate or give pleasure — or both? Towards the end of June, 1814, Maria Bicknell, the wife-to-be of the painter… Read more

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Flemish tour de force

12 December 2007

Some years ago I was walking through the closed galleries of the Uffizi with a group of journalists, when we passed the Portinari Altarpiece. In those spaces, free for once… Read more

There is a great deal to be said for living in a tip

21 November 2007

In 1864 a Talmudist named Jacob Saphir arrived at Cairo. He made his way to the district confusingly named ‘Babylon’ after a Roman fort. There he visited the ancient Synagogue… Read more

Scraps of Van Goghiana

17 May 2007

Having spent a chunk of my life living, mentally, in 1888 with Vincent van Gogh in Arles I find that I still have not completely left that place. The book… Read more

Hug a hoodie and Gilbert & George

26 October 2006

I know that just now people are queuing up to propose new policies to the leader of the opposition — wind turbines, green taxes and what not — but even… Read more

Bones of contention

17 May 2006

All over the world, scholarly folk look to Neil MacGregor — who writes opposite — to hold the line. All over the world, scholarly folk look to Neil MacGregor —… Read more

Martin Gayford

6 August 2005

I have recently returned from a fortnight spent floating around the Baltic. Because of global warming — which seems to be making the Mediterranean very hot — and cheap air… Read more

Mad genius

28 May 2005

Martin Gayford examines the extraordinary lives — and deaths — of great artists and suggests that there is a link between manic depression and creativity In the summer of 1667… Read more

A certain something

21 May 2005

Could Caravaggio draw? That might seem a startling, even a ridiculous, question, but it expresses a doubt with which I was left by the admittedly magnificent exhibition that is about… Read more

Fine Arts Special: The rights and wrongs of conquest

22 May 2004

France gave back artefacts looted by Napoleon. So what’s different today? asks Martin Gayford ‘Give us back our marbles’ is the cry. Passionate demands are made for the return of… Read more

Luxury Goods: Absolutely priceless

15 May 2004

A couple of weeks ago I attended a reception in the Banqueting House on Whitehall to mark the opening of an exhibition by the American painter Cy Twombly at the… Read more