Arts feature

‘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

A fusion of ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’ and Dungeons and Dragons, Dashi Namdakov’s ‘She Guardian’ is a grotesque, inappropriate and embarrassing intrusion into London

What's that thing? Britain's worst public art

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Bad public art pollutes our townscapes. Stephen Bayley names and shames the worst offenders as he unveils the winner of The Spectator’s inaugural What’s That Thing? Award

About strange lands and people: ‘Midsummer Eve Bonfire’, after c.1917, by Nikolai Astrup

Nikolai Astrup - Norway’s other great painter

30 January 2016 9:00 am

The Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup has been unjustly overshadowed by Edvard Munch. But that is about to change, says Claudia Massie

‘The Death of Sardanapalus’, 1846, by Eugène Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix foresaw the future of society not just art

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Delacroix’s frigid self-control concealed an emotional volcano. Martin Gayford explores the paradoxes that define the apostle of modernism

‘We can really slow down and live with the characters, understand what they’re thinking and feeling’: a scene from the BBC’s adaptation of ‘War and Peace’

‘It’s good to chop out the boring bits!’: Andrew Davies on adapting War and Peace

23 January 2016 9:00 am

What does Andrew Davies have to say to those who accuse him of gratuitous rumpy-pumpy in his adaptations of the classics? Stephen Smith finds out

‘If ever there was a Renaissance Man, John Dee was it’: from ‘The Order of the Inspirati’, 1659

John Dee thought he could talk to angels using medieval computer technology

16 January 2016 9:00 am

John Dee liked to talk to spirits but he was no loony witch, says Christopher Howse

Monumental change: the overthrow of the statue of Napoleon I, which was on top of the Vendôme Column. The painter Gustave Courbet is ninth from the right

A short history of statue-toppling

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Sculptural topplings provide an index of changing times, says Martin Gayford

'Lion Hunt', 1861, by Eugène Delacroix

Galleries are getting bigger - but is there enough good art to put in them?

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Martin Gayford recommends the exhibitions to see — and to avoid — over the coming year

‘The Birth of Christ’, 1896, by Paul Gauguin

Why would a dissolute rebel like Paul Gauguin paint a nativity?

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford investigates how this splendid Tahitian Madonna came about and why religion was ever-present in Gauguin's art

Cecily Parsley makes cowslip wine, illustration from‘Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes’ by Beatrix Potter

The art of Beatrix Potter

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Her best illustrations — limpid, ethereal, carefully observed — are masterly works of art in their own right, argues Matthew Dennison

Bryan Stanley Johnson with a first edition of ‘The Unfortunates’

Nottingham resuscitates a classic of the 60s literary avant-garde

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Peter Robins reports from Nottingham on a unique adaptation of a novel by the literary innovator B.S. Johnson

Two wheels good: Belgian racing cyclist Eddy Merckx on the track, 1970

The bicycle may have triumphed over the car but it’s far from perfect

28 November 2015 9:00 am

The bicycle may have triumphed over the car but it’s far from perfect, argues Stephen Bayley

‘May Day’, 1866, by Julia Margaret Cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron: the Leonardo of photography

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Ruskin dismissed Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographs as untrue. But, argues Martin Gayford, the same could be said of any picture

Judy Garland as Esther Smith in Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

How Technicolor conquered cinema

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Peter Hoskin celebrates Technicolor’s 100th birthday

Actors from the Belarus Free Theatre during a performance of ‘Being Harold Pinter’ at the Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney, 2009

Theatre and transgression in Europe’s last dictatorship

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Juan Holzmann goes underground in Minsk with the Belarus Free Theatre

Standing figure of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, wearing Roman military costume, 1st–2nd century AD and Seated figure of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, wearing Roman military costume, 1st–2nd century AD

Egypt: where gods are born and go to die

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Tom Holland on Egypt, where the deities were born and history itself began

Domhnall Gleeson as Jim Farrell and Saoirse Ronan as Eilis in ‘Brooklyn’

Colm Toibin on priests, loss and the half-said thing

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Jenny McCartney talks to unstoppable literary force Colm Tóibín about loss, priests and half-said things

'Fire Woman', 2005, by Bill Viola

What is it about Bill Viola’s films that reduce grown-ups to tears?

17 October 2015 8:00 am

What is it about Bill Viola's films that reduce grown-ups to tears? William Cook dries his eyes and talks to the video artist about Zen, loss and nearly drowning

Long player: 33 years on ABC's 'The Lexicon of Love' sounds only slightly less than current

Why I’m stepping down after 28 years as The Spectator pop critic

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Pop's place in culture has changed drastically. Marcus Berkmann explains why, after 27 years, it is time to step down as The Spectator's pop critic

From top left: Lucian Freud, Rudolf Bing, Stefan Zweig, Walter Gropius, Rudolf Laban, Max Born, Kurt Schwitters, Friedrich Hayek, Fritz Busch, Frank Auerbach, Emeric Pressburger, Oskar Kokoschka

German refugees transformed British cultural life - but at a price

3 October 2015 9:00 am

German-speaking refugees dragged British culture into the 20th century. But that didn’t go down well in Stepney or Stevenage, says William Cook

‘Early Morning at the Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India’, 1989, by Don McCullin

Don McCullin interview: ‘I take more than I bring. That’s not a role I’m proud of’

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Jenny McCartney talks to the celebrated photojournalist about war, guilt and Aylan

Still from the documentary ‘Palio’: a medieval rite at once nonsensical and puerile, and yet profoundly alive and meaningful

Palio exposes the bribery and violence that lies at the heart of Siena’s lawless ritual

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Siena’s Palio is steeped in violence, bribery and corruption. But it matters to its people more than anything, says Jasper Rees

Sympathy for the devils: Reggie and Ronnie Kray in northeast London, 1964

I was Reggie Kray's penpal

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Harry Mount once idolised the Kray twins. He’s since seen the error of his ways

The way we were: Dame Peggy Ashcroft as Queen Margaret, with Donald Sinden and cast members, in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Wars of the Roses’, Stratford, 1963

Shakespeare's Wars of the Roses is being staged without a single black actor. So what?

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Trevor Nunn is staging Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses without a single black actor. So what, says Robert Gore-Langton

The master builder: Palladio’s villas in the Veneto, Italy — Villa Caldogno

Palladio was the greatest influence on taste ever – but his time is finally up

29 August 2015 9:00 am

Palladio gave his name to a style that spread around the world. But was it too successful for its own good, wonders Stephen Bayley