Martin Gayford

An artist of the floating world: Christo’s ‘Mastaba’ on the Serpentine Lake

Appealingly meaningless and improbable: Christo at the Serpentine Lake reviewed Plus: memorably pointless paintings at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery

7 July 2018 9:00 am

It’s not a wrap. This is the first thing to note about the huge trapezoid thing that has appeared, apparently…

‘Self-portrait on the border between Mexico and the United States of America’, 1932, Frida Kahlo

How good a painter was Frida Kahlo?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

In 2004 Mexican art historians made a sensational discovery in Frida Kahlo’s bathroom. Inside this space, sealed since the 1950s,…

‘Prostitute and Disabled War Veteran. Two Victims of Capitalism’, 1923, by Otto Dix

Sorrow and pity are no guarantee of artistic success: Aftermath at Tate Britain reviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Some disasters could not occur in this age of instant communication. The first world war is a case in point:…

Coloured proof from ‘English as She is Spoke’ by Pedro Carolino, 1960, by Edward Bawden

Edward Bawden is deservedly one of Britain’s most popular 20th century artists

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘When I’m on good form,’ Edward Bawden told me, ‘I get to some point in the design and I laugh…

Extension of credit: the vaults, part of David Chipperfield’s redevelopment of the Royal Academy

How lucky we are to have the Royal Academy

26 May 2018 9:00 am

What is the Royal Academy? This question set me thinking as I wandered through the crowds that celebrated the opening…

What a relief: ‘Descent of the Ganges’ or ‘Arjuna’s Penance’, 7th century

India’s Sistine ceiling

19 May 2018 9:00 am

In Tamil Nadu we found that we were exotic. Although there were some other western tourists around, in most of…

‘The Orange Chair’, 1944, by Cedric Morris

The artist more fond of flowers and vegetables than people – and who can blame him

28 April 2018 9:00 am

I have occasionally mused that there is plenty of scope for a Tate East Anglia — a pendant on the…

‘Massive blue bowl’, 1991, by Gordon Baldwin

Why it’s bad for potters to think of themselves as artists

21 April 2018 9:00 am

A friend of mine once owned a vase by the potter Hans Coper — until, that is, her teenage son…

With Leonardo, improbable speculations are never-ending, The Da Vinci Code enthusiasts see the figure of St John (on the right in this detail of ‘The Last Supper’) as Mary Magdalene, hiding in plain sight

The codes and codswallop surrounding Leonardo da Vinci

14 April 2018 9:00 am

‘If you look at walls soiled with a variety of stains or at stones with variegated patterns,’ Leonardo da Vinci…

The Church at Vétheuil, 1878

The public are quite right to love Monet

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Think of the work of Claude Monet and water lilies come to mind, so do reflections in rippling rivers, and…

Moonlit Ravine, early 1970s, by John Craxton

Once seen as the coming force in British painting, John Craxton deserves another look

7 April 2018 9:00 am

In late April 1992, I was in Crete, interviewing the painter John Craxton. It was the week that Francis Bacon…

‘Majesty’, 2006, by Tacita Dean

Intelligent, poetic and profound: Tacita Dean at the National and National Portrait galleries

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Andy Warhol would probably have been surprised to learn that his 1964 film ‘Empire’ had given rise to an entire…

‘The Appearance’, 2018, by Eric Fischl

Surreal jokes and juicy strokes: Martin Gayford on the power of paint

17 March 2018 9:00 am

René Magritte was fond of jokes. There are several in René Magritte (Or: The Rule of Metaphor), a small but…

‘Melanie and Me Swimming’, 1978–9, by Michael Andrews

Magnificent paintings – oddly curated: All Too Human reviewed

10 March 2018 9:00 am

In the mid-1940s, Frank Auerbach remarked, the arbiters of taste had decided what was going to happen in British art:…

Domestic harmony: Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, ‘a work of art in itself’

Lemons and pebbles are as important to Kettle’s Yard as the art

10 February 2018 9:00 am

When I first visited Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, I was shown around by Jim Ede, its founder and creator. This wasn’t…

‘Amazon’, 2016, by Andreas Gursky

Gursky’s subject is humanity: prosaic, mundane, extremely messy His colossal, panoramic pictures are brilliant and lowering at the same time

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Walking around the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, I struggled to recall what these huge photographs reminded me…

‘Anne Cresacre’, c.1527, by Hans Holbein the Younger

A sumptuous feast of an exhibition: Charles I at the Royal Academy reviewed

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Peter Paul Rubens thought highly of Charles I’s art collection. ‘When it comes to fine pictures by the hands of…

‘Apollo and Daphne’, early 1620s, by Bernini

Turning marble into cushions and stone into flesh: the magic of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Seventeenth-century Roman art at its fullblown, operatic peak often proves too rich for puritanical northern tastes. And no artist was…

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’s portraits — nervous, intense and enigmatic — are among the most memorable to be painted in 16th-century Italy,…

‘Beatrice Hastings’, 1915, by Amedeo Modigliani

After you’ve seen a few, you start to think, ‘Oh no, not another!’: Modigliani at Tate reviewed

2 December 2017 9:00 am

‘It’s odd,’ Picasso once mused, ‘but you never see Modigliani drunk anywhere but at the corners of the boulevard Montmartre…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, photographed by Annie Leibovitz (From Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016)

Sex and the city: the best art books of the year

25 November 2017 9:00 am

‘I should like,’ Edgar Degas once remarked, ‘to be famous and unknown.’ On the whole, he managed to achieve this.…

‘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…