Arts feature

World-class: Symphony Orchestra of India in its tropical Barbican in Mumbai

Meet India’s first – and only – professional western orchestra

16 February 2019 9:00 am

It’s a 31ºC Mumbai morning, and on Marine Drive the Russian winter is closing in. The Symphony Orchestra of India…

Scourge of puritans: Christian Dior with model Sylvie, c.1948

How an anarchist music student become of the fashion greats: the life of Christian Dior

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Strange to think when you visit the Christian Dior show at the V&A that his time as designer was so…

A document of a mass human experiment that is moving, revolting, violent and extraordinarily pornographic

Dau is the strangest and most unsettling piece of art to come out of Russia in years

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Dau is not so much a film as a document of a mass human experiment. The result is dark, brilliant…

Fasten your seatbelts: Bette Davis in her dressing room during the filming of All About Eve

All About Eve was all about bitching – off-screen as well as on

26 January 2019 9:00 am

In 1950, Bette Davis had a string of recent flops behind her. She was 41, married to an embarrassing twerp…

Gary Raymond and Richard Burton in Tony Richardson’s 1959 film version of Look Back in Anger

What a relief we can finally admit Jimmy Porter was a pain in the neck

19 January 2019 9:00 am

Gary Raymond must have been wondering if it was the end of a promising career — curtains. He was starring…

Pounds of flesh: Takayasu throws Takakeisho to the ground to win the 2018 Kyushu tournament in Fukuoka

The balletic, bum-baring rituals of sumo

12 January 2019 9:00 am

An early morning in late November in the peaceful glades that surround an ancient temple complex. A Shinto priest in…

Writers of some of the best-loved programmes in British television history: Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement

Dick Clement on Porridge, Kirk Douglas and having seven projects on the go

5 January 2019 9:00 am

Given their track record, you might think that Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais would be spared the struggles that…

‘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…