Arts

‘He strikes me dumb with admiration.’ Van Gogh on Howard Pyle’s pirate illustrations

The facts – and fiction – of piracy

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Horatio Clare explores the fact – and fiction – of piracy

‘The Laden Table’, c.1908, by Édouard Vuillard

A charming celebration of Vuillard’s muse – his mum: Barber Institute’s Maman reviewed

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Fin-de-siècle Paris was not just the art capital of the world, it was also the fashion capital. In 1901, 300,000…

RLPO and the NDR Radiophilharmonie performing Britten's War Requiem in Liverpool Cathedral. Photo: Liverpool Philharmonic / Mark McNulty

Britten’s War Requiem almost sounded like a masterpiece – but it isn’t, is it?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

‘What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?’ We’ve heard a lot, lately, of the knell that tolls through the…

Games without frontiers: a scene from Red Dead Redemption 2

What does the commonplace cruelty of Red Dead Redemption say about our times?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Every era has its western. For 30 years, from The Big Trail through to The Searchers, John Wayne reigned supreme…

The Somme battlefield today. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Radio 3 had the most simple yet effective way of reflecting on war’s impact

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Amid all the remembrance, Radio 3 came up with a simple yet effective way of reflecting on war’s impact. Threaded…

‘Portrait of a Young Man with a Book’, c.1524–6, by Lorenzo Lotto

Lorenzo Lotto’s 16th century portraits come startlingly close to photography

17 November 2018 9:00 am

You can, perhaps, glimpse Lorenzo Lotto himself in the National Gallery’s marvellous exhibition, Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits. At the base of…

King David with his musicians: a page from the Vespasian Psalter, 8th century

To say this is a 'once in a generation' exhibition seems absurdly modest

17 November 2018 9:00 am

‘The barbarians drive us to the sea, the sea drives us to the barbarians; between these two means of death…

The whole narrative of Dynasties was too suspiciously shapely. Image: BBC NHU

How does David Attenborough know what the monkeys are thinking?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The opening episode of BBC1’s Dynasties — the new Attenborough-fronted series from the Natural History Unit — introduced us to…

The ideal album for getting rid of guests over Christmas: Yoko Ono’s Warzone reviewed

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Grade: A+ Ooh, you can have some fun with this when the unwanted guests swing by this Christmastide. These are…

A mess: Fantastic Beasts reviewed

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the sequel to the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find…

Lee Evans in Pinter Three. Photo: Marc Brenner

Lee Evans’s acrobatic clowning is the best thing about Pinter Three

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Pinter Three appeals to opposite poles of the play-going spectrum. The birdbrains like me will enjoy the music-hall sketches while…

What do we learn from these poppies ‘weeping’ from a tower in Derby?

For the sake of art as much as society, it’s time to stop remembering the war

10 November 2018 9:00 am

For the sake of art as much as society, we need to stop remembering and start forgetting, says Simon Jenkins

Maisie Williams as Caroline in the breathtaking new play 'I and You' at Hampstead Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

One of the best plays I’ve ever seen: I and You at the Hampstead Theatre reviewed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Lauren Gunderson’s play I and You opens in the scruffy bedroom of 17-year-old Caroline. Lonely, beautiful and furious, she’s unable…

‘The Doom Fulfilled’, by Edward Burne-Jones, 1888

Like today's conceptual artists, Burne-Jones was more interested in ideas than paint

10 November 2018 9:00 am

‘I want big things to do and vast spaces,’ Edward Burne-Jones wrote to his wife Georgiana in the 1870s. ‘And…

Making a Murderer 2's mesmerising dea ex machina Kathleen Zellner

Thanks to Making a Murderer, Wisconsin’s bovine incompetence has been exposed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

I wonder if Wisconsin has any idea what an international embarrassment it has become? By rights it ought to be…

Henry Williamson and Charles Carrington, two of the soldiers featured in Radio 4's Voices of the First World War

When the first world war ended, many soldiers were left with ‘a terrible empty feeling’

10 November 2018 9:00 am

‘It was so unreal,’ said one of the first world war veterans about the long-awaited Armistice. It was the most…

Money to Byrne: David Byrne deserves every penny he makes from this tour

Why David Byrne deserves every penny he makes from his tour

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Let’s get the ‘was-it-good?’ stuff out of the way first. Yes, it was good. It was better than good. It…

Carey Mulligan in 'Wildlife'. Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Exquisite and riveting: Wildlife reviewed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Wildlife is an adaptation of the 1990 novel by Richard Ford about a family coming apart at the seams, and…

The Gyorgy and Marta show: the nonagenarian couple have been an unlikely hit on YouTube

One of the last living avant-gardists speaks – Gyorgy Kurtag on his new Beckett opera

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Musical revolutionary and YouTube star Gyorgy Kurtag is preparing to première his first opera, based on Beckett’s Endgame, at La Scala. Norman Lebrecht meets him

Mike Leigh (Canadian Press/Rex/Shutterstock)

There’s nothing radical about Mike Leigh’s films

10 November 2018 9:00 am

So there I was in Soho Square on a cold and rainy morning, nibbling my complimentary almond croissant and eagerly…

Never handsome, just sensuous and dangerous: Kevin Spacey

Bring back Kevin Spacey

3 November 2018 9:00 am

Spacey the actor was always fascinating because he was amoral

Right, a page from the Hamzanama, c.1558-73, depicting Elijah rescuing Amir Hamza's drowning grandson. Left, 'The Raven addresses an assembly of animals', c.1590.

The true face of Islam won’t be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but at the British Museum

3 November 2018 9:00 am

In Britain today, Islam in its original essence is not to be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but on…

Jacqueline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers. Photo; Gareth Cattermole/ Getty Images

Why has BBC Radio been replaced by ‘BBC Sounds’?

3 November 2018 9:00 am

You may have noticed that BBC iPlayer (for radio programmes) has been replaced this week with the new BBC Sounds…

A dignified Johnetta Eula'Mae Ackles as Marjory and a bumptious Jim Broadbent as Hans Christian Andersen in McDonagh's A Very Very Very Dark Matter. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Mean-spirited, muddled, idiotic and puerile: Martin McDonagh's A Very Very Very Dark Matter reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

In the year since it opened, the Bridge has given us the following: a harmless Karl Marx comedy by Richard…

Sarah Tynan's mesmerising Lucia in ENO's Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo: John Snelling

Real psychological horror and a mesmerising heroine: ENO’s Lucia di Lammermoor reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

How do you solve a problem like Lucia? Murder, madness, abuse, possibly even incest, all set to a soundtrack of…