‘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…

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.…

George Cruikshank’s illustration for ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens

Mutton, potatoes and ale – how children ate in the 19th century

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Modern Britain scratches its head over children who are overfed, not underfed, while guilt-ridden mothers stand accused of feeding children…

‘Carcase of an Ox’, by the circle of Rembrandt

Decomposing women, preserved nipples & putrefaction: Flesh at York Art Gallery reviewed

24 September 2016 9:00 am

For a 21st-century gallery, a Victorian collection can be an embarrassment. Tate Modern got around the problem by offloading its…

‘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…

Natural high: John Sebastian’s acoustic set at Woodstock, 1969

A great retro shop with a dreary message: V&A’s You Say You Want a Revolution? reviewed

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Back in the high optimism of the 2008 presidential campaign, one of Barack Obama’s more extravagant hopes was that ‘the…

‘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…

‘Apple Blossoms’, 1873, by Charles-François Daubigny

The man who who invented impressionism

23 July 2016 9:00 am

The last boat I saw in the galleries on the Mound was a canoe that the Scottish painter Jock McFadyen…

‘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…

‘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…

‘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…

Doing it for themselves: the first issue of the first punk fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue’

Nothing sacrilegious about this British Library Punk show, says Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols

28 May 2016 9:00 am

There have been many punk exhibitions over the years so I can’t help but chuckle at the ‘experts’ who are…

Cartoon for St Luke, Chichester Cathedral Tapestry, 1965, by John Piper

The shimmering, restless, groovy fabrics of John Piper

21 May 2016 9:00 am

A story John Piper liked to tell — and the one most told about him — is of a morning…

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…

‘Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu’, 1702–3, by Maria Merian

The 17th century painter who hacked her way through Suriname in search of insects

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Maria Sibylla Merian was a game old bird of entrepreneurial bent, with an overwhelming obsession with insects. Born in Frankfurt…

‘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…

‘True Love’ detail, 1981, by Posy Simmonds

The British are leaders in graphic novels so why do we not take the art form more seriously?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Art Spiegelman, the American cartoonist behind Maus, the celebrated Holocaust cartoon, dreamt up a good definition of graphic novels: comics…

‘Undressed’ is too much boob, not enough woman: ‘Tamila’ lingerie set from the Agent Provocateur Soirée collection

Too much boob – not enough woman: Undressed at the V&A reviewed

16 April 2016 9:00 am

The V&A is selling £35 Agent Provocateur pants. This is, of course, a business deal because Agent Provocateur — along…

‘Merde d’Artiste’, 1961, by Piero Manzoni

In defence of conceptual art

16 April 2016 9:00 am

At the tail end of last year, an artist called Peter Goodfellow mounted an exhibition of paintings titled Treason of…

‘Macbeth, Banquo and Witches on the Heath’, 1794, by Henry Fuseli

Why do some museums insist on playing piped music into exhibitions?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

There was a genteel brouhaha last year — leaders in the Times, letters to the Telegraph, tutting in the galleries…

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…