Exhibitions

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…

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson

A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Tove Jansson, according to her niece’s husband, was a squirt in size and could rarely be persuaded to eat, preferring…

Stitches in time: detail of ‘Embroidery Design’ by May Morris, worked by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore, c.1900

Is May Morris a feminist cause – a woman of genius unfairly overlooked?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

You may think you don’t know May Morris, daughter of William, but you’ll probably have come across her wallpaper. Her…

The forgotten history of the Tube’s ‘poster girls’

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Lara Prendergast celebrates the ‘poster girls’, the little-known women artists who helped to emancipate the London Underground

‘Soviet Union Art Exhibition’, Zurich 1931, by Valentina Kulagina

How I fell under the spell of Soviet propaganda posters

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Fraser Nelson on how he – and so many others – fell under the spell of Soviet propaganda posters

‘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…

Part elevation of a new house in New Delhi, 2017, by George Saumarez Smith

The architectural trads are back – we should celebrate

28 October 2017 9:00 am

I’m sitting across a café table from a young man with a sheaf of drawings that have an archive look…

‘The First Days of Spring’, 1929, by Salvador Dalí

As a visual experience it is less than overwhelming: Dalí/Duchamp reviewed

21 October 2017 9:00 am

During a panel discussion in 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright made an undiplomatic comment about Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated picture of 1912,…

‘Pastry Cook of Cagnes’, 1922, by Chaïm Soutine

The painter who devoted himself to turning kitchen-weary men into kings and popes

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Chaïm Soutine turned kitchen-weary men into monarchs and popes, says Laura Freeman

‘Self Portrait’, 1984, by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Where did it go wrong for Basquiat?

14 October 2017 9:00 am

‘Art by its very essence is of the new… There is only one healthy diet for artistic creation: permanent revolution.’…

Master of the zoom lens: Degas at the National reviewed

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Where was Degas standing as he sketched his ‘Laundresses’ (c.1882–4)? Did he watch the two women from behind sheets hanging…

War horse: horse headdress made of felt, leather and wood, late 4th–early 3rd century BC

Pot-smoking warriors who attached enemy bodyparts to their horses: Scythians reviewed

23 September 2017 9:00 am

You wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Scythians. Armed with battle-axes, bows and daggers, and covered in fearsome tattoos, the…

‘The Angel of Mercy’, c.1746, by Joseph Highmore

The painting that revealed the shocking truth of being a woman in Georgian society

23 September 2017 9:00 am

At the heart of Basic Instincts, the new exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London, is an extraordinarily powerful painting…

‘Untitled (Clear Torso)’, 1993, by Rachel Whiteread

At her best, Rachel Whiteread is almost edibly attractive – but less is more

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Rachel Whiteread is an indefatigable explorer of internal space. By turning humble items such as hot-water bottles and sinks inside…

Moving pictures: ‘Achaean’, 1981, by Bridget Riley

Snap, crackle and op: no one can beat Bridget Riley

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Stand in front of ‘Fall’, a painting by Bridget Riley from 1963, and the world begins to quiver and dissolve.…

‘Mum On The Couch’, 2017, by Gary Hume

‘The abstract paintings all went in the bin’: Gary Hume interviewed

26 August 2017 9:00 am

There is more to the artist Gary Hume than glossy surfaces, as Martin Gayford finds out when he meets him

Matisse’s ‘Still Life with Shell’ (1940) with his beloved chocolate pot, top left

The importance of odds and ends in the work of Matisse

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Why did Henri Matisse not play chess? It’s a question, perhaps, that few have ever pondered. Yet the great artist…

A picture of pure energy: Watts’s ‘The Sower of Systems’, 1902

The Victorian artist who was more Jackson Pollock than Pre-Raphaelite

29 July 2017 9:00 am

On his deathbed in 1904, George Frederic Watts saw a extraordinary spectacle. He witnessed the universe coming into being: the…

Plywood at its most curvaceous, acceptable and collectible: Alvar Aalto armchair, 1930 (left), and moulded plywood chair by Grete Jalk, 1963

How plywood helped us win the second world war

8 July 2017 9:00 am

The V&A’s Plywood show has much to teach us about human nature, says Tanya Harrod

‘Statue (Double Check by Seward Johnson), New York, 11 September 2001’, 2001, by Jeff Mermelstein

From Mussolini’s car to the Twin Towers: a history of dust

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Aren’t you getting a little sick of the white cube? I am. I realised how sick last week after blundering…

‘Untitled (Poor Richard)’, 1971, by Philip Guston

A pilloried president, PC portraits and paintings good enough to eat

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Politics and art can make for an awkward mix. Much more than with religious subjects it seems to matter whether…

‘Study for Charity’, c.1519, by Raphael

Lucian Freud was wrong to think Raphael dull – he was a genius

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Late one afternoon, early in the year, I was walking through the Vatican Stanze with a small group of critics…

Star quality: competition design for the Roman Catholic cathedral, Liverpool, by Denys Lasdun, 1959

The greatest buildings Liverpool never built

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Liverpool has not treated its architects well. Stephen Bayley takes a tour of the bits of the city that were – regrettably – never built

In the digital age, you might expect the paper diary to be dying – not so

10 June 2017 9:00 am

By chance on Saturday morning, I tuned into Radio 4 and heard Professor Clare Brant talking on Saturday Live about…