‘Two Figures in a Room’, 1959, by Francis Bacon

The dos and don’ts of the Russian art scene

28 February 2015

They’re doing fantastic deals on five-star hotels in St Petersburg the weekend the Francis Bacon exhibition opens at the Hermitage. With tensions between Russia and the west at their highest… Read more

‘Group with Parasols’, c.1904, by John Singer Sargent

Sargent, National Portrait Gallery, review: he was so good he should have been better

21 February 2015
Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends National Portrait Gallery
Sir Jacob Epstein: Babies and Bloomsbury Foundling Museum

The artist Malcolm Morley once fantasised about a magazine that would be devoted to the practice of painting just as some publications are to — say — cricket. It would… Read more

Van Gogh's 'The Diggers' (1889). Credit: Collectie Stedelijk

Where Van Gogh learned to paint

14 February 2015

In December 1878 Vincent Van Gogh arrived in the Borinage, a bleak coal- mining district near Mons. He was 25 years old. He’d failed to become an art dealer. He’d… Read more

Sound and vision: spectators watch Polly Harvey in a glass box recording her new album

The future of the album lies in the gallery

14 February 2015
PJ Harvey: Recording in Progress Artangel at Somerset House
Christian Marclay White Cube, Bermondsey

The album is not what it was. It still exists, in record collections, as part of the torrential streaming of everything, and in the sentimental memories of those who lament… Read more

‘Woman at Her Toilette’, 1875/80, by Berthe Morisot

2015 in exhibitions - painting still rules

3 January 2015

The New Year is a time for reflections as well as resolutions. So here is one of mine. In the art world, media and fashions come and go, but often… Read more


Sorry – the Vikings really were that bad

10 August 2013

Sometimes the really obvious take on history turns out to be the right one. For generations, we all assumed that the atrocities perpetrated by the Germans in Belgium at the… Read more

‘Dalston Lane no.1’, 1974, by Leon Kossoff

Exhibitions: Leon Kossoff, The Bay Area School

8 June 2013
Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, W1
The Bay Area School Thomas Williams Fine Art, 22 Old Bond Street, W1

Paint is but coloured mud, pace scientists and conservators, and it can be said that the human animal comes from mud and goes back to it. Thus are the activities… Read more

‘Hickbush Landscape’, by Patrick George;

Painting begins at 90 – celebration of Jeffrey Camp, Anthony Eyton and Patrick George

18 May 2013

The year 1923 was a good one for British artists, witnessing the birth of three painters who became friends and whose work epitomises a rich strand of realism in the… Read more

‘Queen Tomyris’, 1448–9, by Andreadel Castagno

Springtime of the Renaissance: Sculpture and the Arts in Florence, 1400–1460

11 May 2013
The Springtime of the Renaissance — Sculpture and the Arts in Florence, 1400–1460 Palazzo Strozzi, until 18 August; the Louvre, 23 September until 6 January 2014

Sixty per cent of the best Renaissance art is said to be in Italy, and half of that is in Florence. So why bother going to Florence for a particular… Read more


Fruitful oppositions

26 May 2012

There are so many good exhibitions at the moment in the commercial sector that the dedicated gallery-goer can easily spend a day viewing top-quality work without paying a single museum… Read more

Religious doubt

23 April 2011

No description of Eric Gill is ever without the words ‘devout Catholic’, and Eric Gill: Lust for Letter & Line (British Museum Press, £9.99), while short, provides evidence to both… Read more


Look and learn

5 February 2011

Bridget Riley turns 80 this year, a fact easy to forget when looking at the surging energy and contemporaneity of her pictures. She is a remarkable artist who, although imposing… Read more


More real art, please

15 January 2011

Although I am an admirer of Dulwich Picture Gallery, and like to support its generally rewarding exhibition programme, I will not be making the pilgrimage to see its latest show,… Read more


Best in show

15 January 2011

Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain, talks to Ariane Bankes about the planned revamp of the museum and 100 different ways of showing sculpture The evening after first meeting Penelope… Read more


Death watch

8 January 2011

Although I stopped watching TV some years ago, films are a continuing solace and pleasure. Among the Christmas treats was a previously unseen Jack Nicholson movie, entitled The Bucket List.… Read more


A look ahead

18 December 2010

The trend of fewer temporary exhibitions in our museums is becoming established, as the cost of mounting blockbusters escalates beyond even the generous reach of sponsorship. This is in sharp… Read more


Intimations of infinity

18 December 2010

Andrew Lambirth finds a striking metaphor for the physical limitations of earthbound existence versus the infinite freedom of the spirit in Paul Nash’s painting ‘Winter Sea’ Paul Nash is one… Read more


Exhibitions Round-up: lifting the heart

11 December 2010

The run-up to Christmas is the perfect season for an exhibition of Andrew Logan’s joyful and extravagant art. The run-up to Christmas is the perfect season for an exhibition of… Read more


Light relief

4 December 2010

The so-called Glasgow Boys had no manifesto, common background or style, apart from working in and around the city of Glasgow and sharing a belief in the importance of painting… Read more


Come together

4 December 2010

Niru Ratnam invites you to join in and take off your trousers in the name of art at the taxpayer’s expense — while you still can In the week before… Read more


At the heart of Europe

27 November 2010

The historic centre of Bruges has 16 museums, enough to cater for every touristic taste. There’s a Diamond Museum, a Lace Centre, a Choco-Story (the narrative element distinguishes it from… Read more


Smoke and mirrors

27 November 2010

The Prince, according to Machiavelli, ‘should appear, to see him, to hear him, all compassion, all good faith, all integrity, all piety’ — which might be translated into Basic Blairish… Read more


Small blessings

20 November 2010

As I pointed out last week, one of the chief attractions of the Treasures from Budapest show at the Royal Academy is the inclusion of two rooms of Old Master… Read more


Fresh and feisty

13 November 2010

Harry Becker (1865–1928) is one of those artists too often dismissed as being of regional interest only, who feature but rarely in the art chronicles of the period. Harry Becker… Read more


UnEnglish triumph

30 October 2010

Sometimes an exhibition does what it says on the tin. The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy, the Ashmolean’s first major show post-revamp, is such an exhibition. Sometimes an exhibition does what it… Read more