Exhibitions

The grisly art of Revolutionary France

28 March 2020 9:00 am

There was a basket of thick red wool and two pairs of large knitting needles at the start of University…

Every bit as well observed as Rembrandt – and often funnier: Nicolaes Maes reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Nicolaes Maes (1634–93) relished the simple moments of daily life during the Dutch Golden Age. A woman peeling parsnips over…

Strange, sinister and very Belgian: Léon Spilliaert at the Royal Academy reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

The strange and faintly sinister works of the Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert have been compared — not unreasonably — to…

Slight: Steve McQueen at Tate Modern reviewed

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Steve McQueen’s ‘Static’ (2009) impresses through its sheer directness — and it’s very far from static. A succession of helicopter-tracking…

Pyramids of piffle: Tate Britain’s British Baroque reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

British Baroque: it was never going to fly. Les rosbifs emulating the splendour of le Roi Soleil? Pas possible. Still,…

My step-grandmother would have loved this show: Unbound At Two Temple Place reviewed

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

My step-grandmother Connie was an inspired needlewoman. For ten years, as a volunteer for the charity Fine Cell Work, she…

Spiralling tributes to air, flight and lift-off: Naum Gabo at Tate St Ives reviewed

1 February 2020 9:00 am

‘Plunderers of the air’, Naum Gabo called the Luftwaffe planes. In Cornwall, during the second world war, Gabo kept cuttings…

Dazzling and sex-fuelled: Picasso and Paper at the Royal Academy reviewed

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Picasso collected papers. Not just sheets of the exotic handmade stuff — though he admitted being seduced by them —…

Enchanting – but don’t fall for the mummified rubber duck in the gift shop: Tutankhamun reviewed

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Like Elton John, though less ravaged, Tutankhamun’s treasures are on their final world tour. Soon these 150 artefacts will return…

Why did David Bomberg disappear?

11 January 2020 9:00 am

David Bomberg was only 23 when his first solo exhibition opened in July 1914 at the Chenil Gallery in Chelsea.…

The forgotten masterpieces of Indian art

21 December 2019 9:00 am

As late as the end of the 18th century, only a handful of Europeans had ever seen the legendary Mughal…

To fill a major Tate show requires a huge talent. Dora Maar didn’t have that

14 December 2019 9:00 am

Dora Maar first attracted the attention of Pablo Picasso while playing a rather dangerous game at the celebrated left-bank café…

A museum-quality car-boot sale: V&A’s Cars reviewed

7 December 2019 9:00 am

We were looking at a 1956 Fiat Multipla, a charming ergonomic marvel that predicted today’s popular MPVs. Rather grandly, I…

Remarkable and imaginative: Fitzwilliam Museum’s The Art of Food reviewed

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Eating makes us anxious. This is a feature of contemporary life: a huge amount of attention is devoted to how…

The extraordinary paintings of Craigie Aitchison

23 November 2019 9:00 am

One of the most extraordinary paintings in the exhibition of work by Craigie Aitchison at Piano Nobile (96–129 Portland Road,…

John Flaxman is the missing link between superhero movies and Homer

9 November 2019 9:00 am

As you enter the forecourt of the Royal Academy, you see them. A row of artistic titans, carved in stone,…

The truth about food photography

2 November 2019 9:00 am

While looking at the photographs of food in this humorous exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery, I thought of how hopelessly…

English National Opera's triumphant new production of Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus, directed by Daniel Kramer. [Photo: Alistair Muir]

A triumph: ENO’s Mask of Orpheus reviewed

26 October 2019 9:00 am

ENO’s Mask of Orpheus is a triumph. It’s also unintelligible. Even David Pountney, who produced the original ENO staging in…

The beauties of the universe are revealed in the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

19 October 2019 9:00 am

In the early 1660s, Pieter de Hooch was living in an area of what we would now call urban overspill…

Inspiring and sweet-smelling: David Nash’s 200 Seasons at Towner Art Gallery

You’ll be blubbing over a wooden boulder at David Nash’s show at Towner Art Gallery

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Call me soppy, but when the credits rolled on ‘Wooden Boulder’, a film made by earth artist David Nash over…

‘Body’ and ‘Fruit’, 1991/93, by Antony Gormley

A cast of Antony Gormley? Or a pair of giant conkers? Gormley’s new show reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

While Sir Joshua Reynolds, on his plinth, was looking the other way, a little girl last Saturday morning was trying…

The rare gifts of Peter Doig

21 September 2019 9:00 am

‘My basic intention,’ the late Patrick Caulfield once told me, ‘is to create some attractive place to be, maybe even…

‘Flowers’, 1942, by Ivon Hitchens

Whooshing seedlings and squabbling stems: Ivon Hitchens at Pallant House reviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Set down the secateurs, silence the strimmers. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Ivon Hitchens was a…

‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’, c.1826, by Ingres, a copy of which hung over Freud’s desk

Why was Sigmund Freud so obsessed with Egypt?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Twenty years ago, I visited the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna with a party of American journalists. Even in those…