Exhibitions

‘The Battle of the Pyramids’, 1798–9, by François-Louis-Joseph Watteau

The best and most extensive exhibition on Napoleon in three decades

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris has a new exhibition that I believe to be the best…

Edward Bawden is deservedly one of Britain’s most popular 20th century artists

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘When I’m on good form,’ Edward Bawden told me, ‘I get to some point in the design and I laugh…

Astonishing splashes of colour: ‘Square Green with Orange, Violet and Lemon’, 1969, by Patrick Heron

Patrick Heron’s paintings are exhilarating – his colours dance, pulse & boff you on the nose

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Patrick Heron’s paintings of the 1950s melt like ice creams. You want to run your tongue along the canvas and…

Wood and ivory figure group depicting a tooth extraction, 17th century

The troubling history behind the healthy, happy smile

19 May 2018 9:00 am

In his Physiognomische Fragmente, published between 1775 and 1778, the Swiss physiognomist Johann Kaspar Lavater insisted that ‘clean, white and…

‘Office at the Mühling prisoner-of-war camp’, 1916, by Egon Schiele

Animals, tourists and raptors: the hazards of being a plein-air artist

12 May 2018 9:00 am

A conservator at Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum was recently astonished to find a tiny grasshopper stuck in the paint of…

‘Little Girl in a Blue Armchair’, 1878, by Mary Cassatt

No one can beat Mary Cassatt at painting mothers and children

5 May 2018 9:00 am

A lady licking an envelope. An intimate thing. It might be only the bill from the coal-man she’s paying, but…

‘The Orange Chair’, 1944, by Cedric Morris

The artist more fond of flowers and vegetables than people – and who can blame him

28 April 2018 9:00 am

I have occasionally mused that there is plenty of scope for a Tate East Anglia — a pendant on the…

Why it’s bad for potters to think of themselves as artists

21 April 2018 9:00 am

A friend of mine once owned a vase by the potter Hans Coper — until, that is, her teenage son…

The Church at Vétheuil, 1878

The public are quite right to love Monet

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Think of the work of Claude Monet and water lilies come to mind, so do reflections in rippling rivers, and…

Once seen as the coming force in British painting, John Craxton deserves another look

7 April 2018 9:00 am

In late April 1992, I was in Crete, interviewing the painter John Craxton. It was the week that Francis Bacon…

The glorious history of Chatham Dockyard, as told through the eyes of artists

31 March 2018 9:00 am

‘Ding, Clash, Dong, BANG, Boom, Rattle, Clash, BANG, Clink, BANG, Dong, BANG, Clatter, BANG BANG BANG!’ is how Charles Dickens…

‘Majesty’, 2006, by Tacita Dean

Intelligent, poetic and profound: Tacita Dean at the National and National Portrait galleries

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Andy Warhol would probably have been surprised to learn that his 1964 film ‘Empire’ had given rise to an entire…

‘The Appearance’, 2018, by Eric Fischl

Surreal jokes and juicy strokes: Martin Gayford on the power of paint

17 March 2018 9:00 am

René Magritte was fond of jokes. There are several in René Magritte (Or: The Rule of Metaphor), a small but…

‘Melanie and Me Swimming’, 1978–9, by Michael Andrews

Magnificent paintings – oddly curated: All Too Human reviewed

10 March 2018 9:00 am

In the mid-1940s, Frank Auerbach remarked, the arbiters of taste had decided what was going to happen in British art:…

Every picture tells a story: ‘Maximilian Schell as Redl’, 1968, by Leonard Rosoman

The strangely unique vision of Leonard Rosoman

3 March 2018 9:00 am

Leonard Rosoman is not a well-known artist these days. Many of us will, however, be subliminally familiar with his mural…

Worth a trip for the David Joneses alone: Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

To bleak, boarded-up Margate — and a salt-and-vinegar wind that leaves my face looking like Andy Warhol’s botched 1958 nose-peel…

From 'playable stamps’ to minidiscs – the joys of dead media

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Listen closely, among the shelves of the last remaining music shops, in student dorm rooms and amid the flat whites…

Girls in the hood: traditional hairdresser in Nottingham, 1996

The captivating art, science and politics of hair: Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

One of the best things about Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries — yep, an exhibition about hairdressing — is the reaction…

Domestic harmony: Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, ‘a work of art in itself’

Lemons and pebbles are as important to Kettle’s Yard as the art

10 February 2018 9:00 am

When I first visited Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, I was shown around by Jim Ede, its founder and creator. This wasn’t…

‘Amazon’, 2016, by Andreas Gursky

Gursky’s subject is humanity: prosaic, mundane, extremely messy

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Walking around the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, I struggled to recall what these huge photographs reminded me…

‘Apollo and Daphne’, early 1620s, by Bernini

Turning marble into cushions and stone into flesh: the magic of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Seventeenth-century Roman art at its fullblown, operatic peak often proves too rich for puritanical northern tastes. And no artist was…

Bear necessities: line block print, 1970, hand coloured by E.H. Shepard

The star of the Winnie-the-Pooh show at V&A is E.H. Shepard

9 December 2017 9:00 am

The thing about Winnie-the-Pooh, 91 years old this year, is that he’s the creature of E.H. Shepard, who drew him,…

‘Beatrice Hastings’, 1915, by Amedeo Modigliani

After you’ve seen a few, you start to think, ‘Oh no, not another!’: Modigliani at Tate reviewed

2 December 2017 9:00 am

‘It’s odd,’ Picasso once mused, ‘but you never see Modigliani drunk anywhere but at the corners of the boulevard Montmartre…

The head of Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832

What can we learn from Jeremy Bentham’s pickled head?

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Under the central dome of UCL — an indoor crossroads where hordes of students come and go on their way…

‘Les Modes se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, 1926, cover design for Harper’s Bazaar

The time is right for an Erté revival – a new hero for our gender-anxious times

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Erté was destined for the imperial navy. Failing that, the army. His father and uncle had been navy men. There…