Painting

Why Lucian Freud hated having his picture taken

26 October 2019 9:00 am

One of Lucian Freud’s firmly fixed views about himself was ‘I’m not at all introspective’. This was, like many opinions…

Why has figurative painting become fashionable again?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The figure is back. Faces stare, bodies sprawl, fingers swipe, mums clutch, hands loll. The Venice Biennale was full of…

The stuff of nightmares: ‘The Five Firemen’, 1938, by Grace Pailthorpe

British surrealism at its most remarkable and nightmarish

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Holding the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936 was a coup for the British avant-garde, putting newbie surrealists such…

‘The Fisherman’s Cottage’, 1906, by Harald Sohlberg

If you’re tired of hygge then you’ll like Harald Sohlberg

23 February 2019 9:00 am

If you’re tired of hygge then you’ll like Harald Sohlberg. The Norwegian painter  eschewed the cosy fireside for the great…

A letter from Vincent van Gogh to his younger brother Theo, dated 28 October 1883

'Lock him in a motel & he'd do something astonishing': Hockney on the genius of Van Gogh

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Being in the south of France obviously gave Vincent an enormous joy, which visibly comes out in the paintings. That’s…

‘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…

Shouldering a hoe, Christ appears to Mary Magdalene in Fra Angelico’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (c.1438–50)

The loveliest episode of Holy Week – Christ rises from the potting shed

31 March 2018 9:00 am

Only the subtlest artists choose to paint the Noli Me Tangere scene, a still, small episode of calm after the horrors of the Passion, says Laura Freeman

‘Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect’, 1903, by Claude Monet

How war – and fog – saw London become a haven for the impressionists

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Madame Monet was bored. Wouldn’t you have been? Exiled to London in the bad, cold winter of 1870–71. In rented…

‘Landscape Near Kingston, Jamaica’, 1950, by John Minton

John Minton: well-known but not great enough; John Virtue: great but not well-known enough

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Wherever one looked in the arts scene of the 1940s and ’50s, one was likely to encounter the tragicomic figure…

‘Tennis’, 1930, by Eric Ravilious

How artists from Ravilious to Rauschenberg fell for tennis

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Tennis is best played with a wooden racket on a shady lawn somewhere close to Dorking. There is no need…

‘Inferno’ by Massimo Belardinelli

Why 2000AD deserves to be admired as art

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Borag Thungg, Earthlets! If those words mean something to you, then congratulations — you are leading a good life. If…

‘Untitled’, 1963, by Gillian Ayres

Britain's abstract painters deserve more attention than America's abstract expressionists

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Fifteen million pounds and a hefty slice of architectural vision have transformed the Whitworth from a fusty Victorian art temple…