Painting

‘Spray’, by Harold Williamson (1939)

The marvels of British interwar realism

19 August 2017 9:00 am

One day, somebody will stage an exhibition of artists taught at the Slade by the formidable Henry Tonks, who considered…

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…

Andrew Marr: Why are people friendly in real life, yet so hateful on Twitter?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

It has been an unqualified delight, even if it is mildly absurd: I have been chairing the judges for this…

‘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…

‘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…

Who next for a blast? Wyndham Lewis in 1917, photographed by George Charles Beresford

Flappers, futurists, Bloomsbury and Putney – Wyndham Lewis's many enemies

1 July 2017 9:00 am

A superb retrospective at IWM North makes no apology for Wyndham Lewis: painter, poet, publisher and picker of fights. Laura Freeman reports

‘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…

Sky Atlantic’s Riviera is fine if all you want is the TV equivalent of a computer screensaver

24 June 2017 9:00 am

‘Riviera is the new Night Manager,’ I read somewhere. No, it’s not. Riviera (Sky Atlantic, Thursday) is the new Eldorado…

‘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…

‘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…

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…

‘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…

Leonora Carrington’s adventures in surrealism

15 April 2017 9:00 am

The surrealists’ muse and a distinguished artist in her own right, Leonora Carrington captivated all who met her, says Jane Rye

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…

‘Schicksalslinien/Be-Ziehungen VIII’ (‘Lines of Fate’/’Re-lations VIII’), 1994, by Maria Lassnig

Is collage the natural idiom for our cut-and-paste society?

1 April 2017 9:00 am

How do you make a work of art? One method is to cut things up and stick them back together…

‘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

‘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…

‘Gas’, 1940, by Edward Hopper

The good, the bad and the ugly: RA’s America after the Fall reviewed

25 February 2017 9:00 am

The latest exhibition at the Royal Academy is entitled America after the Fall. It deals with painting in the United…

‘Peasants’, c.1930, by Kazimir Malevich

The true harshness of Soviet life rarely comes through: RA’s Revolution reviewed

18 February 2017 9:00 am

Vladimir Putin notoriously declared the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 to be one of the greatest disasters of…