Arts feature

‘The Nativity’, 1470–75, by Piero della Francesca

The fascinating story behind one of the best-loved depictions of the Nativity

15 December 2018 9:00 am

In the early 1370s an elderly Scandinavian woman living in Rome had a vision of the Nativity. Her name was…

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Somewhere in the bowels of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is a portrait from a lost world. Its subject…

True stories: Gary Kemp in 1971

Gary Kemp on pop, Pre-Raphaelites, politics and playing Pinter

15 December 2018 9:00 am

The first thing Gary Kemp bought when Spandau Ballet started making money was a chair. He’s very proud of that…

David Schwimmer has produced a new film of Alexander Zeldin’s play LOVE for the BBC. [Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images]

David Schwimmer on his new BBC film

8 December 2018 9:00 am

There is very little art about modern poverty, because who wants to know? It is barely acknowledged, unless there is…

Read The Spectator article that gave birth to musical minimalism 50 years ago

8 December 2018 9:00 am

The Spectator is responsible for many coinages. One of the most significant came in 1968, when an article by our…

Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve in the Rainbow Room at Big Biba, early 1970s. [JUSTIN DE VILLENEUVE]

A short history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, garden gates to Twiggy

1 December 2018 9:00 am

On 10 September 1973 the 1930s Kensington High Street department store formerly known as Derry & Toms reopened as Big…

Court in the act: Simon Paisley Day as Sir Walter Raleigh in Ralegh: The Treason Trial at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Join a Jacobean jury at the Globe. Early modern theatre goes immersive – will it work?

24 November 2018 9:00 am

James I and VI liked to term himself Rex Pacificus. Like most politicians who talk a lot about working for…

‘He strikes me dumb with admiration.’ Van Gogh on Howard Pyle’s pirate illustrations

The facts – and fiction – of piracy

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Avast there, scurvy dogs! For a nation founded on piracy (the privateer Sir Francis Drake swelled the exchequer by raiding…

What do we learn from these poppies ‘weeping’ from a tower in Derby?

For the sake of art as much as society, it’s time to stop remembering the war

10 November 2018 9:00 am

A cascade of poppies falls from ‘weeping windows’ across Britain. A 50-metre drawing of Wilfred Owen appears in the sand,…

The Gyorgy and Marta show: the nonagenarian couple have been an unlikely hit on YouTube

One of the last living avant-gardists speaks – Gyorgy Kurtag on his new Beckett opera

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Arriving in Budapest, I receive a summons I cannot refuse. Gyorgy Kurtag wants to see me. Famously elusive, the last…

Never handsome, just sensuous and dangerous: Kevin Spacey

Bring back Kevin Spacey

3 November 2018 9:00 am

The sixth and final season of House of Cards has begun without Kevin Spacey, who played the murderous Democratic American…

A major modernist hiding in plain sight: composer Ennio Morricone at 91

‘Darmstadt taught me how to compose’: Ennio Morricone interviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Ennio Morricone’s staff wish it to be known that he does not write soundtracks. ‘Maestro Morricone writes “Film Music” NOT…

Gothic revival: Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill revived

20 October 2018 9:00 am

We can’t know what Horace Walpole would make of the continuing popularity of serendipity, a word he coined in 1754…

‘I go against my instincts to be just an actor’

‘I should just shut up’: Dominic West on #MeToo and the perils of talking politics

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Lounging confidently on the sofa of a Soho hotel suite, Dominic West has been beaming at me, but now his…

‘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,…