Exhibitions

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…

‘Venice: The Bacino di S. Marco on Ascension Day’, c.1733–34, by Canaletto

There are hints in this show at Buckingham Palace of another, more imaginative Canaletto

3 June 2017 9:00 am

One evening a few weeks ago I was on my way to the opening of an exhibition at the Venice…

‘Choshi in Soshu province’, woodblock print from A Thousand Pictures of the Sea, c.1833, by Hokusai

How Hokusai achieved immortality

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Hokusai wanted to paint everything, says Laura Freeman, and at 70 he was only just beginning

‘Man Pointing’, 1947, by Alberto Giacometti

It’s hard to imagine a better overview: Giacometti at Tate Modern reviewed

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Size, of course, matters a great deal in art; so does scale — which is a different matter. The art…

‘Children Playing’, 1953, by Kenneth Armitage

It’s about time we recognised the genius of Kenneth Armitage

20 May 2017 9:00 am

What is it about Yorkshire, particularly Leeds, that it has bred or trained such a succession of famous modern sculptors?…

Folly by Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017

Huge, diverse and yet monotonous, the Venice Biennale is very like the EU

20 May 2017 9:00 am

‘Are you enjoying the Biennale?’ is a question one is often asked while patrolling the winding paths of the Giardini…

A load of old bull: Picasso wearing a bull’s head intended for bullfighters’ training, Cannes, 1959

John Richardson: Bullfighting with Picasso

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Picasso had a thing for bulls. Martin Gayford talks to the artist’s friend and biographer. Sir John Richardson about a lifelong obsession

‘The Caged Bird’s Song’, 2014–2017, by Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili’s weird watercolour tapestries mark a return to form

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Many of the mediums from which art is made have been around for a long time. People have been painting…

‘Rainstorm over the sea’, 1824–28, by John Constable © Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond

Constable was every bit as good at sea-painting as Turner

22 April 2017 9:00 am

John Constable was, as we say these days, conflicted about Brighton. On the one hand, as he wrote in a…

Frankly dreadful: ‘The Renaissance of Venus’, 1877, by Walter Crane

Would the artists in Tate’s Queer British Art show have approved of being included?

15 April 2017 8:00 am

‘There is only one thing worse than homosexual art,’ the painter Patrick Procktor was once heard to declare at a…

Left: ‘Étude pour la tête d’Hamadryade’, 1895-1908; right: ‘La Valse’, 1889-1895

The sexual ecstasy of Camille Claudel – and why it proved too much for the establishment

8 April 2017 9:00 am

Camille Claudel’s extravagant talent proved too provocative for the male art establishment of her day, says Laura Gascoigne

Silver Hut, 1984, by Toyo Ito

With no planning controls and owners craving the new, Japan is a Disneyland for architecture

8 April 2017 9:00 am

The house in which I lived in Tokyo was built by my landlady, a former geisha. It stood on a…

‘Absent Friends’, 2000–1, by Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin claimed not to be an abstract artist. So what exactly was he?

25 March 2017 9:00 am

The late Howard Hodgkin stated emphatically that he was not an abstract artist. So what exactly was he? asks Martin Gayford

‘The Judgment of Solomon’, c.1506–9, by Sebastiano del Piombo. © National Trust Images/Derrick E. Witty

Was Sebastiano imitating Michelangelo or – a startling thought – vice versa?

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Martin Gayford is mystified by the mismatched working partnership between Michelangelo and the painter Sebastiano del Piombo

American beauty: ‘Standard Station’, 1966, by Ed Ruscha

How art chronicled the birth – and death – of the American dream

11 March 2017 9:00 am

How art chronicled the birth – and death – of the American dream, by Stephen Bayley

‘Boy falling from a window’, 1592, Italy, Naples (possibly)

The key to the Italian Renaissance lies in the home

11 March 2017 9:00 am

There have been many explanations for what happened in the Italian Renaissance. Some stress the revival of classical antiquity, others…

‘Iguazu’, 2010, by Wolfgang Tillmans

Coolly contemporary – especially in its muddle: Wolfgang Tillmans at the Tate reviewed

4 March 2017 9:00 am

These days the world is experiencing an unprecedented overload of photographs, a global glut of pictures. More and more are…

It’s electrifying: Nikola Tesla in his lab, 1901

Poetry, animals, perms and Bovril are all part of the sparky history of electricity

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Poetry, animals, perms and Bovril are all part of the sparky history of electricity, writes Richard Holmes