Exhibitions

‘Children’s Games’,
1560, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Wonderful, overwhelming, once-in-a-lifetime display of Bruegels – get on a plane now

20 October 2018 9:00 am

‘About suffering’, W.H. Auden memorably argued in his poem ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’, the old masters ‘were never wrong’. Great…

‘Pit Brow Lasses’, 2015, by David Venables

Women’s toplessness caused less offence to Victorians than their trousers

20 October 2018 9:00 am

‘They did not look like women, or at least a stranger new to the district might easily have been misled…

Going to the wall: ‘Jane Avril’, 1899, by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Lautrec often made the stars in his posters look appalling – but they kept coming back

20 October 2018 9:00 am

You don’t need to be much of a psychologist to understand the trajectory of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Born to aristocratic…

The ‘soul canoe’ from New Guinea is a sculpture as powerful as any by Brancusi

Full of fabulous, but baffling, things: Oceania reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

At six in the morning of 20 July 1888, Robert Louis Stevenson first set eyes on a Pacific Island. As…

‘The Agony in the Garden’, c.1458–60, by Giovanni Bellini

Bellini vs Mantegna – whose team are you on?

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Laura Freeman on Mantegna and Bellini, two brothers-in-law whose contrasting art pitched drama against devotion

Black mirror: ‘20:50’, 1987, by Richard Wilson at the Hayward Gallery

There's almost nothing in this Hayward show – and that's the point

29 September 2018 9:00 am

A reflection on still water was perhaps the first picture that Homo sapiens ever encountered. The importance of mirrors in…

‘A Voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion’, 1792, by James Gillray

From ancient Egyptian smut to dissent-by-currency: I object at the British Museum reviewed

8 September 2018 9:00 am

Ian Hislop’s potted history of dissent at the British Museum shows that the impulse to do a two-finger salute is universal, says Tom Slater

A kind of blue: Yves Klein’s ‘Jonathan Swift’ (c.1960) amid the Van Dycks and Joshua Reynolds

A visionary and playful heir to Duchamp: Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Nothing was so interesting to Yves Klein as the void. In 1960 he leapt into it for a photograph —…

Lee Bul’s ‘Monster: Pink’ (foreground) and ‘Crashing’ (background)

If you like monstrosities, head to the Hayward Gallery

21 July 2018 9:00 am

One area of life in which globalism certainly rules is that of contemporary art. Installation, performance, the doctrine of Marcel…

Queen Victoria’s ‘State Barge’, 1866–7, by James Henry Pullen

The ‘idiot’ artists whose surreal visions flourished in Victorian asylums

7 July 2018 9:00 am

Laura Gascoigne on the ‘idiot’ artists whose surreal visions flourished in Victorian asylums

An artist of the floating world: Christo’s ‘Mastaba’ on the Serpentine Lake

Appealingly meaningless and improbable: Christo at the Serpentine Lake reviewed

7 July 2018 9:00 am

It’s not a wrap. This is the first thing to note about the huge trapezoid thing that has appeared, apparently…

A new exhibition gives us the real Tolkien – not his awful legacy

7 July 2018 9:00 am

To no one’s surprise, the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Bodleian in Oxford, where J.R.R. spent so much…

Antony Gormley’s art works better in theory than in practice

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Antony Gormley has replicated again. Every year or so a new army of his other selves — cast, or these…

Volcano of invention: Alexander Calder at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Alexander Calder was a volcano of invention

23 June 2018 9:00 am

In the Moderna Museet in Stockholm there is a sculpture by Katharina Fritsch, which references Chekhov’s famous story ‘Lady with…

‘Prostitute and Disabled War Veteran. Two Victims of Capitalism’, 1923, by Otto Dix

Sorrow and pity are no guarantee of artistic success: Aftermath at Tate Britain reviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Some disasters could not occur in this age of instant communication. The first world war is a case in point:…

The earliest aerial drawing, made from a balloon basket, by Thomas Baldwin, 1785, left, and Apollo 8’s ‘Earthrise’, right, 50 years old

How the world was turned upside down by revelation of aerial perspectives

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Adam Begley explains how the world was turned upside down by the revelation of aerial perspectives

‘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…

Extension of credit: the vaults, part of David Chipperfield’s redevelopment of the Royal Academy

How lucky we are to have the Royal Academy

26 May 2018 9:00 am

What is the Royal Academy? This question set me thinking as I wandered through the crowds that celebrated the opening…

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…

French Phidias: Auguste Rodin in his workshop in Meudon, c.1910

How Rodin made a Parthenon above Paris

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Rodin never set foot in Athens but he made a Parthenon above Paris, says Laura Freeman

‘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…