Arts

‘Absent Friends’, 2000–1, by Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin claimed not to be an abstract artist. So what exactly was he?

25 March 2017 9:00 am

The late Howard Hodgkin stated emphatically that he was not an abstract artist. So what exactly was he? asks Martin Gayford

Slyly surreal: Christopher Alden’s Partenope at ENO

Denial has rarely looked so good: ENO’s Partenope reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Ceci n’est pas une Partenope. Forget the warring classical kingdoms of Naples and Cumae: this is surrealist Paris in the…

Time to retire: pianist Maurizio Pollini at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2016

Maurizio Pollini needs to retire

25 March 2017 9:00 am

There’s a moment in the finale of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata when the frenzied piano writing turns unexpectedly jolly. The late…

Jarvis Cocker: contrived or beguiling?

Why I revel in Jarvis Cocker’s pretentiousness

25 March 2017 9:00 am

When Wireless Nights hit the Radio 4 airwaves in the spring of 2012, I was not at all sure about…

Adam Driver as Adam Sackler, the most unsparingly but sensitively drawn modern male to grace the small screen this decade

The real joy of Lena Dunham's Girls is the boys

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Say what you like about Girls creator Lena Dunham, says Jonathan McAloon. She can write men

A nest of vipers forced into a skirt and cardigan: Imelda Staunton as Martha in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’

Prejudiced pap for Remainer elitists: Dorfman Theatre's My Country reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

No one should complain that My Country; a work in progress is a grim night out. It’s rare for a…

Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope 'wearing the kind of hat not seen since the glory days of All Creatures Great and Small'

DCI Vera Stanhope may well be the most implausible cop on TV

25 March 2017 9:00 am

As we know from all those newspaper articles and actress interviews, there’s a scandalous lack of high-profile British TV dramas…

Sergei Polunin in his spangled merkin performing Narcissus and Echo at Sadler’s Wells

What's missing from Project Polunin: taste

25 March 2017 9:00 am

There was a nasty sound of pens being sharpened last week as Royal Ballet runaway Sergei Polunin prepared to unveil…

Ginger Leigh Ryan in ‘All This Panic’

A jumped-up episode of Bergerac: Another Mother's Son reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Two films for you this week, one of which is surprisingly good and one of which does not surprise in…

The winner of the What’s That Thing? Award for bad public art is...

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Imagine climbing the hills that surround Belfast and stumbling upon this 11-metre-high steel bollock. ‘It will be visible from a…

‘The Judgment of Solomon’, c.1506–9, by Sebastiano del Piombo. © National Trust Images/Derrick E. Witty

Was Sebastiano imitating Michelangelo or – a startling thought – vice versa?

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Martin Gayford is mystified by the mismatched working partnership between Michelangelo and the painter Sebastiano del Piombo

Basic instinct: Paul Verhoeven has long been fascinated by the idea of rape

Misogynist or feminist? The murky world of director Paul Verhoeven

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Misogynist or feminist? Tobias Grey enters the murky world of controversial director Paul Verhoeven

BBC radio is at its best when it’s at its plainest

18 March 2017 9:00 am

It was the crime story that showed us just how much China has changed since its years of social, political…

Terence Rattigan’s greatest secret wasn’t his homosexuality

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Robert Gore-Langton reveals another hidden side of the playwright Terence Rattigan

A flimsy exhibition of varsity wit: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead reviewed

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Harry Potter, who uses the stage name Daniel Radcliffe, is a producer’s delight. By now it’s becoming clear that the…

What would we do without nutcases like Steve Backshall

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Down the Mighty River with Steve Backshall (BBC2) was perfect Sunday-night TV — one of the most enjoyable adventure travelogues…

Funny, lively and preposterous: Beauty and the Beast reviewed

18 March 2017 9:00 am

To cut to the chase, my ten-year-old daughter really liked Beauty and the Beast. And given you’re probably going to…

The mechanicals: the dancers in Wayne McGregor’s ‘Tree of Codes’ interlock but they never really interact and we are left humming the scenery.

Music and dance are totally eclipsed by the setting: Tree of Codes reviewed

18 March 2017 9:00 am

The exit signs were switched off and the stalls were in utter darkness. One by one, 15 invisible dancers, their…

Nothing could prepare me for so deep an abyss of idiocy: Royal Opera’s Die Meistersinger reviewed

18 March 2017 9:00 am

I don’t think that I have left a theatre many times feeling as depressed and irritated as after the Royal…

American beauty: ‘Standard Station’, 1966, by Ed Ruscha

How art chronicled the birth – and death – of the American dream

11 March 2017 9:00 am

How art chronicled the birth – and death – of the American dream, by Stephen Bayley

Quietly devastating: Scottish Opera’s Pelléas and Mélisande reviewed

11 March 2017 9:00 am

‘Perhaps in this world nothing ever happens without purpose,’ sings old, blind King Arkel in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and…

Fans of investigative journalism should avoid Channel 4’s How’d You Get So Rich?

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Fans of tough investigative journalism should probably avoid Channel 4’s How’d You Get So Rich? Presenter Katherine Ryan’s main tactic…

Nympho with a bus pass: Juliet Stevenson as Gertrude

The textual omissions and misreadings could fill a small book: Almeida’s Hamlet reviewed

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Hamlet was probably written sometime between 1599 and 1602. The Almeida’s new version opens with a couple of security guards…

Perhaps I’m not ‘post-feminist’ enough to comprehend this ‘rape revenge comedy’: Elle reviewed

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Elle has been described as ‘a rape revenge comedy’, which seems unlikely, and also as ‘post-feminist’, which is likely as,…

‘Boy falling from a window’, 1592, Italy, Naples (possibly)

The key to the Italian Renaissance lies in the home

11 March 2017 9:00 am

There have been many explanations for what happened in the Italian Renaissance. Some stress the revival of classical antiquity, others…