Silhouette of a hand, c.32,000 BC, El Castillo cave, Puente Viesgo, Spain

David Hockney and Martin Gayford on how pictures literally emerged from the shadows

22 October 2016 9:00 am

In an edited extract from their new book, David Hockney and Martin Gayford discuss how pictures emerged from the shadows

I, Daniel Blake

Loach at his most Loach – and most powerful: I, Daniel Blake reviewed

22 October 2016 9:00 am

I, Daniel Blake is a Ken Loach film about a Newcastle joiner who can’t work but faces a welfare bureaucracy…

Carry on camping: English Touring Opera’s ‘La Calisto’

Three ways not to do tragicomedy: English Touring Opera reviewed

22 October 2016 9:00 am

‘Besides feeble writing, there is a mixture of tragic-comedy and buffoonery in it, which Apostolo Zeno and Metastasio had banished…

One Night in Miami

A ziggurat of bilge: Oil at the Almeida reviewed

22 October 2016 9:00 am

Ella Hickson’s new play analyses our relationship with oil using the sketch format. First, there’s a candlelit soap opera set…

Max Irons as Carter in Tutankhamun

Distinctly corny: ITV's Tutankhamun reviewed

22 October 2016 9:00 am

The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb may well be one of the 20th century’s great stories — but naturally that doesn’t…

Rescue workers at the scene of the wrecked Pantglas Junior School at Aberfan, where a coal tip collapsed killing over 190 children and their teachers. (Photo: Getty)

How singing helped the people of Aberfan overcome a tragedy

22 October 2016 9:00 am

‘I went in at seven and came out aged 22,’ said Brian as he looked back on the day in…

‘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…

Iranian celestial globe (1362-63), brass inlaid with silver

Muslim magic – Islam has always dabbled in the occult

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Islam has always dabbled in the dark arts, says Justin Marozzi

Charles Own performing at the London Piano Festival, Kings Place. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/Redferns

Life’s too short for ‘well-crafted’ pieces by musical mediocrities – and Handel

15 October 2016 9:00 am

There’s a folder in my computer’s external hard drive in which you’ll find 24 complete recordings of the Bach Cello…

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…

Electric: Sasha Lane as Star in Andrea Arnold’s American Honey

Lyrical, arresting, atmospheric – but turn that music down! American Honey reviewed

15 October 2016 9:00 am

As a general rule, I would not wish to spend nearly three hours in a mini-van with young people who…

Ed Harris as the sadistic baddie, the Man in Black, in Sky Atlantic’s ‘Westworld’

Lushly pleasing and full of existential complexity: Sky Atlantic’s Westworld reviewed

15 October 2016 9:00 am

The other day James Lovelock, the sprightly 97-year-old inventor of Gaia theory, told a mildly surprised Guardian interviewer that he…

Tragic grandeur: Tom Hollander as Henry Carr in Stoppard’s ‘Travesties’

Dazzling intellectual panto – but read Ulysses first: Travesties at the Menier reviewed

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Travesties is a multi-layered confection of art, song, literature and pastiche. Tiny snippets of it are true. In Zurich, in…

Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey of Radio 4’s Woman's Hour. Photo: BBC/Amanda

Woman's Hour is depressing and retrograde

15 October 2016 9:00 am

When Jane Garvey announced to the audience who had just ‘taken part’ in the 70th birthday celebrations of Radio 4’s…

Sweet and sour: Ylva Kihlberg as the Marschallin and Helen Sherman as Octavian in Opera North’s ‘Rosenkavalier’

Is Opera North’s Rosenkavalier’s worth seeing? Certainly. Worth hearing? That’s trickier

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Shiny swags of gold cloth hang in front of the curtain before David McVicar’s production of Der Rosenkavalier, and that’s…

Jamali Maddix, Viceland’s answer to Louis Theroux

Vice TV is a con

8 October 2016 9:00 am

For all its much-vaunted rebel soul, Viceland is just BBC2 in disguise, says Neil Armstrong

Part of a horse trapper probably made for Edward III’s court. Photo: RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de Cluny — Musée National du Moyen Âge)/Franck Raux

Embroidery: the great British art form

8 October 2016 9:00 am

For much of the Middle Ages, especially from 1250–1350, ‘English work’ was enormously prized around Europe from Spain to Iceland.…

James Purnell – the right man for everything that's not TV or light entertainment? Photo by Stringer/Getty Images

Appointing a former Labour cabinet minister to oversee radio is not just odd but alarming

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Quite how one person is expected to oversee not just radio but also ‘arts, music, learning and children’s departments’ was…

All blacks: Christopher Purves and Caitlin Lynch in Richard Jones’s ‘Don Giovanni’ at ENO

Bears only a passing resemblance to Mozart's opera: ENO's Don Giovanni reviewed

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Richard Jones’s new production of Don Giovanni at ENO bears some passing resemblances to the opera as envisaged by its…

Dominic Cooper as the Earl of Rochester and Jasper Britton as Charles II in Stephen Jeffreys' The Libertine at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. (Photo: Robbie Jack/Corbis/Getty Images)

Little to relish in this bracing portrait of a vain, brilliant fool: The Libertine reviewed

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Here are three roles all actors love to play. The drunk (no need to learn your lines), the dementia victim…

Kate Tempest in 2015. Photo: Andrew Benge/Getty Images

Kate Tempest's poetry is simply no good

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Kate Tempest, a 30 year old dramatist and poet, has an appeal that’s hard to fathom. Is it all in…

Viscerally exciting: Alina Cojocaru and Issac Hernández in Akram Khan’s ‘Giselle’

Akram Khan's choreography is breath-catching: ENB's Giselle reviewed

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Giselle endures in the collective imagination as a charming, sorrowful, supernatural love story. Premièred in Paris in 1841, this keystone…

Halldóra and Sally Phillips in BBC2's A World Without Down's Syndrome? (Photo: BBC/Dragonfly)

Why do doctors think Down’s children are a disaster to be avoided at all costs?

8 October 2016 9:00 am

At my wife’s first 12-week scan, I was expecting — and duly got — that much-documented sense of thrilled wonder…

Emily Blunt in ‘The Girl on the Train’

No more interesting than watching your average buddleia: The Girl on the Train reviewed

8 October 2016 9:00 am

You will surely have seen the posters for The Girl on the Train with Emily Blunt staring from a train…

‘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