Martin Gayford

‘Self-Portrait’, 1880–1, by Paul Cézanne

The most impressive array of work to be seen in London in years: Cézanne’s Portraits reviewed

11 November 2017 9:00 am

The critic and painter Adrian Stokes once remarked on how fortunate Cézanne had been to be bald, ‘considering the wonderful…

‘Portrait of a Lady (La Schiavona)’, c.1510-12, by Titian

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,…

‘The First Days of Spring’, 1929, by Salvador Dalí

It’s the thought that counts

21 October 2017 9:00 am

During a panel discussion in 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright made an undiplomatic comment about Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated picture of 1912,…

‘The Japanese’ by Hans Makart, 1870–75

Fickle fortune

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Here’s an intriguing thought experiment: could Damien Hirst disappear? By that I mean not the 52-year-old artist himself — that…

‘Untitled (Clear Torso)’, 1993, by Rachel Whiteread

Space odyssey

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Rachel Whiteread is an indefatigable explorer of internal space. By turning humble items such as hot-water bottles and sinks inside…

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

Silent films

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…

Moving pictures: ‘Achaean’, 1981, by Bridget Riley

Snap, crackle and op

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Stand in front of ‘Fall’, a painting by Bridget Riley from 1963, and the world begins to quiver and dissolve.…

‘Mum On The Couch’, 2017, by Gary Hume

What lies beneath

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Last year, Gary Hume made a painting of himself paddling. At a casual glance, or even a longer look, it…

Matisse’s ‘Still Life with Shell’ (1940) with his beloved chocolate pot, top left

Object lesson

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…

Animal magnetism

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

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

Face time

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…

Buried treasure: an archaeologist diver brushes clear a bovid jaw discovered in Aboukir Bay

The treasures of Alexandria revealed: British Museum’s Sunken cities reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

It was not so unusual for someone to turn into a god in Egypt. It happened to the Emperor Hadrian’s…

‘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…

Satirical diptych, 1520–1530, anonymous Flemish artist

This Parisian exhibition has rewritten the story of art

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Why do we put one work of art beside another? For the most part museums and galleries tend to stick…

How a Liberal MP's inability to draw led him to invent photography

30 April 2016 9:00 am

William Henry Fox Talbot had many accomplishments. He was Liberal MP for Chippenham; at Cambridge he won a prize for…

Detail of mosaic depicting the martyrdom of Saints Castus and Cassius, 12th century, at the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily

Norman Sicily was a multicultural paradise – but it didn’t last long

9 April 2016 9:00 am

A few weeks ago, I looked out on the Cathedral of Monreale from the platform on which once stood the…

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.…

Wooden model of a brewing and baking workshop, Egypt, c.2000 bc, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Ancient Egypt’s obsession with death was in fact a preoccupation with life

2 April 2016 9:00 am

The Fitzwilliam Museum is marking its bicentenary with an exhibition that takes its title from Agatha Christie: Death on the…

‘Wall Street, New York’, 1915, by Paul Strand

A lot of art is trickery - and all the better for it

26 March 2016 9:00 am

One day, in the autumn of 1960, a young Frenchman launched himself off a garden wall in a suburban street…

RA’s Giorgione show is so rich it’s worth returning to several times

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Walter Sickert was once shown a room full of paintings by a proud collector, who had purchased them on the…

Is this female Swedish painter a major rediscovery - or a minor footnote?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

In 1896, a group of five young Swedish women artists began to meet regularly in order to access mystical zones…

Hell made fun – the joy of Hieronymus Bosch

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The 20th-century painter who called himself Balthus once proposed that a monograph about him should begin with the words ‘Balthus…

‘Portrait of a Young Man’ by Giorgione

Renaissance master? Rascal? Thief? In search of Giorgione

13 February 2016 9:00 am

On 7 February 1506, Albrecht Dürer wrote home to his good friend Willibald Pirckheimer in Nuremberg. The great artist was…

‘Untitled (Oxidation Painting)’, 1978, by Andy Warhol

Warhol the traditionalist: the Ashmolean Museum show reviewed

6 February 2016 9:00 am

When asked the question ‘What is art?’, Andy Warhol gave a characteristically flip answer (‘Isn’t that a guy’s name?’). On…

‘Nympheas (Waterlilies)’, 1914–15, by Claude Monet

The link between herbaceous borders and the avant-garde

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Philip Larkin once remarked that Art Tatum, a jazz musician given to ornate, multi-noted flourishes on the keyboard, reminded him…