Martin Gayford

‘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 —…

‘Turning Road (Route Tournante)’, c.1905, by Paul Cézanne

I can’t stop thinking about the Courtauld’s Unfinished exhibition

15 August 2015 9:00 am

A while ago, David Hockney mused on a proposal to tax the works of art stored in artists’ studios. ‘You’d…

Whole worlds are conjured up in a few strokes: Watercolour at the Fitzwilliam Museum reviewed

1 August 2015 9:00 am

I learnt to splash about in watercolour at my grandmother’s knee. Or rather, sitting beside her crouched over a pad…

The artist who only turned into a major painter once he became a homicidal maniac

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Charles Dickens’s description of Cobham Park, Kent, in The Pickwick Papers makes it seem a perfect English landscape. Among its…

‘Stonehenge’, c.1827, by J.M.W. Turner

There’s not a trace of shaving foam in sight in the early Turners on show at Salisbury Museum

18 July 2015 9:00 am

It has often been related how, towards the end of his long life, a critical barb got under J.M.W. Turner’s…

Detail of a maiolica vase, c.1565–1571, a star piece for both Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill and later for Baron Ferdinand at Waddesdon Manor

Forget Vienna - Britain now has its own chamber of curiosities at the British Museum

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Art is not jewellery. Its value does not reside in the price of the materials from which it is made.…

‘Untitled (Tilly Losch)’, c.1935–38, by Joseph Cornell

Poetic or pretentious? Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust at the Royal Academy reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Someone once asked Joseph Cornell who was his favourite abstract artist of his time. It was a perfectly reasonable question…

‘Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red) [6]’, 1943, by Barbara Hepworth

Was Barbara Hepworth a giant of modern sculpture - or a dreary relic of post-war Britain?

27 June 2015 9:00 am

In the last two decades of her life, Barbara Hepworth was a big figure in the world of art. A…

The artist who turned the Hayward Gallery into Disney World

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Gianlorenzo Bernini stressed the difficulty of making a sculpture of a person out of a white material such as marble.…

James Turrell interview: ‘I sell blue sky and coloured air’

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford talks to the artist James Turrell, who has lit up Houghton Hall like a baroque firework display

Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition reviewed: a jumble sale with pizzazz

6 June 2015 9:00 am

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has very little in common with the Venice Biennale. However they do share one characteristic.…

Grayson Perry - heir to Lewis Caroll and William Blake

30 May 2015 9:00 am

At the Turner Prize dinner of 2003, as the winner, Grayson Perry, took a photo call with his family wearing…

Welcome to Japan’s best kept cultural secret: an art island with an underground museum

23 May 2015 9:00 am

In his introductory remarks to the Afro–Eurasian Eclipse, one of his later suites for jazz orchestra, Duke Ellington remarked —…

One of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Scots pines in the French Pavilion

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

‘Claros’ (woodcut), 2015, by Gillian Ayres

Modernism lite? Modigliani at the Estorick Collection reviewed

9 May 2015 9:00 am

The British painter Nina Hamnett recalled that Modigliani had a very large, very untidy studio. Dangling from the end of…

‘Wrestlers’, 1914, by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska at Kettle's Yard reviewed: he's got rhythm

2 May 2015 9:00 am

One evening before the first world war, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, fired by drink, tried out such then-fashionable dances as the cakewalk…

‘Observer’s Post’, 1939, by Eric Ravilious

Irresistible: Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery reviewed

11 April 2015 9:00 am

The most unusual picture in the exhibition of work by Eric Ravilious at Dulwich Picture Gallery, in terms of subject-matter…

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…

Reimaging the lost masterpieces of antiquity

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford visits two new surveys of Greek and Roman sculpture at the British Museum and Palazzo Strozzi. Reimagining what’s lost is as much of an inspiration as what remains

Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy reviewed: among the best visual evocations of LA there are

21 March 2015 9:00 am

It is true that, like wine, certain artists don’t travel. Richard Diebenkorn, subject of the spring exhibition in the Royal…

Left: ‘Dream of a good witch’, c.1819–23, by Goya Right: ‘Bajan niñendo (They descend quarrelling)’, c.1819–23, by Goya

Flying witches, mad old men, cannibals: what was going on in Goya’s head?

14 March 2015 9:00 am

It is not impossible to create good art that makes a political point, just highly unusual. Goya’s ‘Third of May’…