Martin Gayford

‘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…

‘The Death of Sardanapalus’, 1846, by Eugène Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix foresaw the future of society not just art

23 January 2016 9:00 am

At the Louvre the other day there was a small crowd permanently gathered in front of Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the…

Cool, beguiling, Duchampian set of still lives from Michael Craig-Martin at the Serpentine Gallery

16 January 2016 9:00 am

Michael Craig-Martin has had a paradoxical career. He is, I think, a disciple of Marcel Duchamp. But the latter famously…

Monumental change: the overthrow of the statue of Napoleon I, which was on top of the Vendôme Column. The painter Gustave Courbet is ninth from the right

A short history of statue-toppling

9 January 2016 9:00 am

One of the stranger disputes of the past few weeks has concerned a Victorian figure that has occupied a niche…

'Lion Hunt', 1861, by Eugène Delacroix

Galleries are getting bigger - but is there enough good art to put in them?

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Until a decade and a half ago, we had no national museum of modern art at all. Indeed, the stuff…

‘The Birth of Christ’, 1896, by Paul Gauguin

Why would a dissolute rebel like Paul Gauguin paint a nativity?

12 December 2015 9:00 am

A young Polynesian woman lies outstretched on sheets of a soft lemon yellow. She is wrapped in deep blue cloth,…

How pop is Peter Blake?

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Painters and sculptors are highly averse to being labelled. So much so that it seems fairly certain that, if asked,…

‘Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman’ or ‘The Music Lesson’, 1662–5, by Vermeer

Artistic taste is inversely proportional to political nous

28 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Wherever the British settle, wherever they colonize,’ observed the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon, ‘they carry and will ever carry trial…

‘May Day’, 1866, by Julia Margaret Cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron: the Leonardo of photography

21 November 2015 9:00 am

One day Julia Margaret Cameron was showing John Ruskin a portfolio of her photographic portraits. The critic grew more and…

Alexander Calder: the man who made abstract art fly

14 November 2015 9:00 am

One day, in October 1930, Alexander Calder visited the great abstract painter Piet Mondrian in his apartment in Paris. The…

M.C. Escher: limited, repetitive, but he deserves a place in art history

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Surely,’ mused the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, ‘it is a bit absurd to draw a few lines and then claim:…

Repetitive but compelling: Giacometti at the National Portrait Gallery reviewed

24 October 2015 9:00 am

One day in 1938 Alberto Giacometti saw a marvellous sight on his bedroom ceiling. It was ‘a thread like a…

With this Tate Britain exhibition, Frank Auerbach joins the masters

17 October 2015 8:00 am

No sooner had I stepped into the private view of Frank Auerbach’s exhibition at Tate Britain than I bumped into…

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…

‘Dead Rabbit’, 1962, by Dennis Creffield

On the frontiers of figuration, abstraction and total immateriality

3 October 2015 8:00 am

The artist, according to Walter Sickert, ‘is he who can take a piece of flint and wring out of it…

Detail from Gundestrup cauldron, 100 BC–AD 1

The British Museum's Celtic masterpieces aren't Celtic - but they are fabulous

26 September 2015 8:00 am

‘Celtic’ is a word heavily charged with meanings. It refers, among other phenomena, to a football club, a group of…

How silverpoint revolutionised art

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Marshall McLuhan got it at least half right. The medium may not always be the entire message, but it certainly…

Ravilious in Essex: ‘Two Women in the Garden’, watercolour, 1932

The only art is Essex

29 August 2015 9:00 am

When I went to visit Edward Bawden he vigorously denied that there were any modern painters in Essex. That may…

Between the death of Turner and advent of Bacon, there was no greater British painter

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Walter Sickert was fluid in both his art and his personality: changeable in style and technique, mutable in appearance —…