Arts feature

‘Your Britain: Fight for it Now’, 1942, by Abram Games

Is modernist architecture unhealthy?

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Architects and politicians have a lot in common. Each seeks to influence the way we live, and on account of…

‘The Agony in the Garden’, c.1458–60, by Giovanni Bellini

Bellini vs Mantegna – whose side are you on?

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Sometimes Andrea Mantegna was just showing off. For the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, he painted a false ceiling above the…

Reluctant sex object: Brett Anderson, lead singer of Suede, in 1993

Brett Anderson on fame, fear and being 50

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘I always think they’re not lusting after me,’ Brett Anderson says of the middle-aged fans who still turn up to…

Fantastic beasts and where to find them: ‘Wild Woman with Unicorn’, 1500–10

A brief history of unicorns

22 September 2018 9:00 am

After the England football team beat Tunisia at this summer’s World Cup, they celebrated with a swimming-pool race on inflatable…

What a scorcher: bearing the brunt of Harold Pinter’s temper was one of life’s central experiences

The night I kissed Harold Pinter

22 September 2018 9:00 am

I think everyone was a little nervous of Harold. Including Harold, sometimes. He was affable, warm, generous, impulsive — and…

‘The Miracle of St Mark Freeing a Slave’, 1548, by Tintoretto

Tintoretto unmasked

15 September 2018 9:00 am

Tintoretto was il Furioso. He was a lightning flash or a thunderbolt, a storm in La Serenissima of Renaissance Italy,…

‘A Voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion’, 1792, by James Gillray

From ancient Egyptian smut to dissent-by-currency: I object at the British Museum reviewed

8 September 2018 9:00 am

‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,’…

Like a multistorey car park on the run, Kengo Kuma’s V&A Dundee sits alongside R.F. Scott’s polar expedition vessel, RRS Discovery

From jute, jam and journalism to video games and the V&A: the transformation of Dundee

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Not so long ago, the Dundee waterfront was presided over by a great triumphal arch, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s…

Bad Ischl: the spiritual home of Viennese operetta, and where Franz Joseph signed the declaration of war on Serbia

Operetta is serious business in Bad Ischl – and seriously glorious

25 August 2018 9:00 am

It’s the lederhosen that grabs you first. Two gents were walking down the street ahead of us in full Alpine…

Let there be light: the Atlantic footballfish dwells 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. [Paulo Oliveira / Alamy Stock Photo]

How to live in a world without light: Life in the Dark at the Natural History Museum reviewed

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Like most of our ape ancestors, we have really had only one response to the fall of night. We have…

Before the dawn: Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Dan Godfrey, Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Sir Charles Stanford, seated. Standing: Sir Edward German and Sir Hubert Parry. Bournemouth Centenary Festival, 1910

Music’s Brexit

11 August 2018 9:00 am

It’s October 1895 and the spirit of Music has been absent from Britain for exactly 200 years. Why she fled,…

Captain Scott’s 1911 expedition to Antartica, with the Terra Nova anchored in the background, from The Colour of Time

The artist who breathes Technicolour life into historic photographs

4 August 2018 9:00 am

There is something of The Wizard of Oz about Marina Amaral’s photographs. She whisks us from black-and-white Kansas to shimmering…

‘Lovely’ is the word that best sums up the National Garden Scheme

Why the National Garden Scheme beats the Chelsea Flower Show hands down

28 July 2018 9:00 am

What could be more British than nosying around someone else’s private property while munching on a slice of cake? The…

Life is a cabaret: Barry Humphries and Meow Meow

Barry Humphries on Trump, transgender ‘rat-baggery’ and causing maximum offence

21 July 2018 9:00 am

‘I’m an amateur,’ Barry Humphries tells me. The Australian polymath uses the word in its older sense of ‘enthusiast’ rather…

Queen Victoria’s ‘State Barge’, 1866–7, by James Henry Pullen

The ‘idiot’ artists whose surreal visions flourished in Victorian asylums

7 July 2018 9:00 am

In G.F. Watts’s former sculpture studio in the Surrey village of Compton, a monstrous presence has interposed itself between the…

One of Britain’s first mosques, the Shah Jahan,Woking, completed in 1889 and financed by the female ruler of Bhopal

The problem with British mosques

30 June 2018 9:00 am

My earliest memory of a mosque is being with my father in London’s Brick Lane Mosque. He was a member…

The reluctant frontman: Ray Davies

‘I think The Kinks could have found a better frontman’: Ray Davies interviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

‘I like your shirt today,’ Sir Ray Davies says to the waiter who brings his glass of water to the…

The earliest aerial drawing, made from a balloon basket, by Thomas Baldwin, 1785, left, and Apollo 8’s ‘Earthrise’, right, 50 years old

How the world was turned upside down by revelation of aerial perspectives

16 June 2018 9:00 am

‘To look at ourselves from afar,’ Julian Barnes wrote in Levels of Life, ‘to make the subjective suddenly objective: this…

Unignorable and uncontrollable

Musically, politically and culturally, Kanye West is uncontrollable and unignorable

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Kanye West is more than halfway in to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame — if his politics don’t block the…

Remembrance of things past: interior of the Pantheon, Oxford Street, 18th century, by William Hodges, demolished in 1937

The buildings we knocked down in the name of ‘progress’

2 June 2018 9:00 am

When the German novelist Sophie von La Roche visited Oxford Street in the 1780s she saw watchmakers and fan shops,…

Roger Allam as John Christie in David Hare’s The Moderate Soprano

A champion actor and fully paid-up member of the human race: Roger Allam interviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

A most excellent fellow, Roger Allam. On the stage he brings dignity to all he does, in the noblest traditions…

Garden of earthly delights: horticultural apprentice Emma Love in the newly reopened Temperate House at Kew

The real stars of Kew’s newly restored Temperate House

19 May 2018 9:00 am

The glasshouses at Kew Gardens are so popular that they can be quite unbearably busy at weekends. And why shouldn’t…

Dancing feat: Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby rehearsing choreography for Blue Skies

From buck dancing to Happy Feet: a short history of tap

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Fire up YouTube on the iPad, tap in ‘tap’, then wave goodbye to the rest of your day: clip after…

Teetering chords and incestous sex: Francesca da Rimini at La Scala

How Riccardo Chailly brought joy – and Italian opera – back to La Scala

5 May 2018 9:00 am

As the curtain opens on the second act of Don Pasquale, I hear a rustle of discomfort. Donizetti’s opera has…

French Phidias: Auguste Rodin in his workshop in Meudon, c.1910

How Rodin made a Parthenon above Paris

28 April 2018 9:00 am

‘My Acropolis,’ Auguste Rodin called his house at Meudon. Here, the sculptor made a Parthenon above Paris. Surrounded by statues…