Portraiture

Self-portrait, with his wife Margaret

The dazzling vision of Thomas Gainsborough

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Working in semi-darkness, Thomas Gainsborough produced some of the airiest, most poetic paintings imaginable, says Philip Hensher

David Hockney and Martin Gayford on how pictures literally emerged from the shadows

22 October 2016 9:00 am

In an edited extract from their new book, David Hockney and Martin Gayford discuss how pictures emerged from the shadows

‘Portrait of Lee Miller as l’Arlésienne’, 1937, by Pablo Picasso

Was Picasso making fun of the subjects of his portraits?

22 October 2016 9:00 am

As a chat-up line it was at least unusual. On 8 January 1927, a 46-year-old man approached a young woman…

‘Untitled’, c.1971, by William Eggleston

What makes William Eggleston's ordinary photographs so extraordinary?

6 August 2016 9:00 am

In 1965 William Eggleston took the first colour photograph that, he felt, really succeeded. The location was outside a supermarket…

Slow radio at its best

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Three women, three writers, three very different life experiences. On Monday afternoon the artist Fiona Graham-Mackay introduced us to Imtiaz…

‘Oh god, ma tutto occupato’ (Ach herrje, ma tutto occupato), 2016, by Georg Baselitz

As he approaches 80, the German master Georg Baselitz contemplates the end

21 May 2016 9:00 am

‘In many ways,’ Georg Baselitz muses, ‘I behaved against the grain of the times I grew up in.’ The era…

Why did Goya’s sitters put up with his brutal honesty?

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Sometimes, contrary to a widespread suspicion, critics do get it right. On 17 August, 1798 an anonymous contributor to the…

Detail of a maiolica vase, c.1565–1571, a star piece for both Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill and later for Baron Ferdinand at Waddesdon Manor

Forget Vienna - Britain now has its own chamber of curiosities at the British Museum

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Art is not jewellery. Its value does not reside in the price of the materials from which it is made.…

‘Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington’, 1829, by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Wellington's PR machine

28 March 2015 9:00 am

The history of portraiture is festooned with images of sitters overwhelmed by dress, setting and the accoutrements of worldly success.…

‘Gian Girolamo Albani’, c.1570, by Giovanni Battista Moroni

Without a model, Moroni could be stunningly dull. With one, he was peerless...

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Giovanni Battista Moroni, wrote Bernard Berenson, was ‘the only mere portrait painter that Italy has ever produced’. Indeed, Berenson continued,…

‘While some observers were impressed, others felt the depiction of a doddery Churchill propped up on a walking stick unbecoming’

The lost Victorian who sculpted Churchill

16 August 2014 9:00 am

Ivor Roberts-Jones was in many ways the right artist at the wrong time. Had the sculptor been born a few…

‘Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces’ by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Reynolds produced some of the finest portraits of the 18th century – and a few of the silliest

9 August 2014 9:00 am

On Monday 21 April 1760 Joshua Reynolds had a busy day. Through the morning and the afternoon he had a…

Poetry in paint

23 July 2011 12:00 am

At the age of just 21, Samuel Palmer produced one of British art’s greatest self-portraits.