Martin Gayford

Are there ways in which virtual exhibitions are better than real ones?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Six months ago I published a book about travelling to look at works of art. One such journey involved a…

Strange, sinister and very Belgian: Léon Spilliaert at the Royal Academy reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

The strange and faintly sinister works of the Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert have been compared — not unreasonably — to…

How Jan van Eyck revolutionised painting

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Jan van Eyck changed the art of picture-making more fundamentally than anyone who has ever lived, says Martin Gayford

Martin Gayford visits the greatest one-artist show on Earth

21 December 2019 9:00 am

For a good deal of this autumn, I was living in Venice. This wasn’t exactly a holiday, I’d like to…

To fill a major Tate show requires a huge talent. Dora Maar didn’t have that

14 December 2019 9:00 am

Dora Maar first attracted the attention of Pablo Picasso while playing a rather dangerous game at the celebrated left-bank café…

It’s yellow, not green, that’s the colour of jealousy

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Making attributions to Leonardo da Vinci,  the great art historian Adolfo Venturi once remarked, is like ‘picking up a red-hot…

Remarkable and imaginative: Fitzwilliam Museum’s The Art of Food reviewed

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Eating makes us anxious. This is a feature of contemporary life: a huge amount of attention is devoted to how…

The extraordinary paintings of Craigie Aitchison

23 November 2019 9:00 am

One of the most extraordinary paintings in the exhibition of work by Craigie Aitchison at Piano Nobile (96–129 Portland Road,…

The real Lucian Freud hated having his picture taken

26 October 2019 9:00 am

One of Lucian Freud’s firmly fixed views about himself was ‘I’m not at all introspective’. This was, like many opinions…

The beauties of the universe are revealed in the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

19 October 2019 9:00 am

In the early 1660s, Pieter de Hooch was living in an area of what we would now call urban overspill…

‘Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ’, 1890–91, by Paul Gauguin

Pilferer, paedophile and true great: Gauguin Portraits at the National Gallery reviewed

12 October 2019 9:00 am

On 25 November 1895, Camille Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien. He described how he had bumped into his erstwhile…

The rare gifts of Peter Doig

21 September 2019 9:00 am

‘My basic intention,’ the late Patrick Caulfield once told me, ‘is to create some attractive place to be, maybe even…

‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’, c.1826, by Ingres, a copy of which hung over Freud’s desk

Why was Sigmund Freud so obsessed with Egypt?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Twenty years ago, I visited the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna with a party of American journalists. Even in those…

Wooden head from southern Nigeria, collected by Northcote W. Thomas in 1910

Lucian Freud insisted a forgery could be as great as the real thing. Was he right?

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Perhaps we should blame Vasari. Ever since the publication of his Lives of the Artists, and to an ever-increasing extent,…

‘Self-Portrait, Black Background’ (1915): an entire room in the RA exhibition is devoted to Schjerfbeck’s examination of herself

Why haven’t we heard of the extraordinary Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck?

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Last year I found myself giving a lecture in Helsinki. When I came to the end, I asked the audience…

Like walking into a Rothko: ‘Din blinde passager’ (‘Your blind passenger’), 2010, by Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson’s art is both futuristic and completely traditional – which is why I love it

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Superficially, the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at Tate Modern can seem like a theme park. To enter many of the exhibits,…

Untitled #122, from the Fashion series, by Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman – selfie queen

29 June 2019 9:00 am

The selfie is, of course, a major, and to me mysterious, phenomenon of our age. The sheer indefatigability of selfie-takers,…

‘Centaur’, 1964, by Paula Rego

Remarkable and powerful – you see her joining the old masters: Paul Rego reviewed

22 June 2019 9:00 am

In 1965 a journalist asked Paula Rego why she painted. ‘To give a face to fear,’ she replied (those were…

Dark masterpiece: ‘Two Figures’, 1953, by Francis Bacon

There is a jewel of a painting at Gagosian’s Francis Bacon show

15 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It is no easier to make a good painting,’ wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, than it is…

Virtuosic exploration of paint: Frank Bowling at Tate Britain reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

‘The possibilities of paint,’ Frank Bowling has observed, ‘are endless.’ The superb career retrospective of his work at Tate Britain…

‘A was an Artist’, from William Nicholson’s An Alphabet, 1897

The duo that broke the mould of poster design

18 May 2019 9:00 am

The best double acts — Laurel and Hardy, Gilbert & George, Rodgers and Hart — are often made up of…

Moore’s art has never looked more in context than it does here, undulating in the spring sunshine with Palladian architecture on one side and vistas of greenery on the other: ‘Large Reclining Figure’, 1984

Moore’s art has never looked better: Henry Moore at Houghton Hall reviewed

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Henry Moore was, it seems, one of the most notable fresh-air fiends in art history. Not only did he prefer…

‘Landline Star’, 2017, Sean Scully

A beautiful exhibition of a magnificent painter: Sean Scully at the National Gallery reviewed

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Sean Scully once told me about his early days as a plasterer’s mate. At the age of 17 he was…

‘Head by Head’, 1905, by Edvard Munch

Absorbing – a masterclass in print-making: Edvard Munch at the British Museum reviewed

13 April 2019 9:00 am

An eyewitness described Edvard Munch supervising the print of a colour lithograph in 1896. He stood in front of the…