Renaissance

Full of lovely paintings that might lead you astray: The Renaissance Nude reviewed

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Early in the 16th century, Fra Bartolomeo painted an altarpiece of St Sebastian for the church of San Marco in…

‘The Nativity’, 1470–75, by Piero della Francesca

The fascinating story behind one of the best-loved depictions of the Nativity

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Martin Gayford tells the fascinating story behind one of art history’s best-loved depictions of the Nativity

‘Portrait of a Young Man with a Book’, c.1524–6, by Lorenzo Lotto

Lorenzo Lotto’s 16th century portraits come startlingly close to photography

17 November 2018 9:00 am

You can, perhaps, glimpse Lorenzo Lotto himself in the National Gallery’s marvellous exhibition, Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits. At the base of…

‘The Doom Fulfilled’, by Edward Burne-Jones, 1888

Like today's conceptual artists, Burne-Jones was more interested in ideas than paint

10 November 2018 9:00 am

‘I want big things to do and vast spaces,’ Edward Burne-Jones wrote to his wife Georgiana in the 1870s. ‘And…

‘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…

‘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

There’s something about Mary: ‘Madonna of the Rosary’, 1539, by Lorenzo Lotto

The time has come for one of the most fascinating and idiosyncratic Renaissance artists

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Lorenzo Lotto was overlooked by 16th-century Venice, but now, says Martin Gayford, his time has come

The advantages of turning down the colour knob: Monochrome reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Leonardo da Vinci thought sculpting a messy business. The sculptor, he pointed out, has to bang away with a hammer,…

‘Adam and Eve in Paradise’, by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1531)

The ‘biography’ of the creation myth: The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve reviewed

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Steven Greenblatt’s cultural road trip is a compelling story of myth, theology and belief

Still life: ‘A Kiss’, 1891, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Victorian painter who shaped cinema

9 September 2017 9:00 am

On 15 September 1888 Vincent van Gogh was intrigued to read an account of an up-to-date artist’s house in the…

‘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…

‘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…

Bologna’s core: grand in the renaissance manner

Bologna with Gilbert & George

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Sooner or later, no matter where you are travelling on Italian railways, you are likely to pass through Bologna Centrale.…

‘The Deluge’, 1920, by Winifred Knights

Piero della Francesca meets Dalí: Winifred Knights at Dulwich Picture Gallery reviewed

9 July 2016 9:00 am

‘Hidden beauty is best (half seen), faces turned away.’ So noted a young English painter named Winifred Knights in 1924.…

Sneers and jeers over Lears

28 May 2016 9:00 am

In the 18th century, as Shakespeare began to take on classic status, editors began to notice differences between the texts…

Unchanging: Florence’s skyline and the Arno

Botticelli’s jokes and the quarrelsome, creative spirit of Florence

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Once, it seems, Sandro Botticelli played a trick on a neighbour. Next door was a weaver who possessed eight looms.…

‘Venus’, 1490s, by Sandro Botticelli

V&A's Botticelli Reimagined has too many desperate pretenders

5 March 2016 9:00 am

When Tom Birkin, hero of J.L. Carr’s novel A Month in the Country, wakes from sleeping in the sun, it…

‘Madonna del Parto’ fresco in Monterchi by Piero della Francesca

On the trail of Piero della Francesca

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Piero della Francesca is today acknowledged as one of the foundational artists of the Renaissance. Aldous Huxley thought his ‘Resurrection’…

‘Portrait of a Young Man’ by Giorgione

Renaissance master? Rascal? Thief? In search of Giorgione

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Question-marks over attribution are at the heart of a forthcoming Giorgione exhibition. Martin Gayford sifts through the evidence

‘If ever there was a Renaissance Man, John Dee was it’: from ‘The Order of the Inspirati’, 1659

John Dee thought he could talk to angels using medieval computer technology

16 January 2016 9:00 am

John Dee liked to talk to spirits but he was no loony witch, says Christopher Howse

Detail from the great and strange Altar of the Holy Blood by Tilman Riemenschneider at the Jakobskirche, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Is this the greatest sculpted version of the Easter story? It's certainly the strangest

4 April 2015 9:00 am

In April 1501, about the time Michelangelo was returning from Rome to Florence to compete for the commission to carve…

Della Francesca’s ‘Resurrection’

The mathematical revolution behind ‘the greatest picture in the world’

19 April 2014 9:00 am

The Indian inspiration with which Piero della Francesca created ‘the greatest picture in the world’

Clarissa Tan's Notebook: Why I stopped drinking petrol

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Florence was in fog the day I arrived. Its buildings were bathed in white cloud, its people moved as though…

How honest was Bernard Berenson?

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Sam Leith suspects that even such a distinguished connoisseur as Bernard Berenson did not always play a straight bat