Painting

The pleasures and perils of talking about art on the radio

30 November 2019 9:00 am

‘I like not knowing why I like it,’ declared Fiona Shaw, the actress, about Georgia O’Keeffe’s extraordinary blast of colour,…

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…

Free of Lucian Freud — Celia Paul’s road to fulfilment

16 November 2019 9:00 am

I was looking the other day at a video of the artist Celia Paul in conversation with the curator of…

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…

‘Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ’, 1890–91, by Paul Gauguin

Pilferer, paedophile and true great: Gauguin Portraits at the National Gallery reviewed

12 October 2019 9:00 am

On 25 November 1895, Camille Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien. He described how he had bumped into his erstwhile…

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…

Why has figurative painting become fashionable again?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The figure is back. Faces stare, bodies sprawl, fingers swipe, mums clutch, hands loll. The Venice Biennale was full of…

Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall as Mrs Lowry and her son

Why did Mrs Lowry hate her son’s paintings?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

‘I often wonder what artists are for nowadays, what with photography and a thousand and one processes by which you…

‘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…

‘Paean’ (1973) by Bridget Riley

Where are the art fans in Edinburgh? Getting their eyes frazzled by Bridget Riley

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The old observatory on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill may be the most favourably positioned art venue in the world. Recently resurrected…

‘The Ball’ (1899) by Félix Vallotton

No masterpieces but there are beautiful touches: Félix Vallotton at the RA reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) was a member of the Nabis (the Prophets), a problematically loose agglomeration of painters, inspired by Gauguin…

‘Centaur’, 1964, by Paula Rego

Remarkable and powerful – you see her joining the old masters: Paul Rego reviewed

22 June 2019 9:00 am

In 1965 a journalist asked Paula Rego why she painted. ‘To give a face to fear,’ she replied (those were…

Dark masterpiece: ‘Two Figures’, 1953, by Francis Bacon

There is a jewel of a painting at Gagosian’s Francis Bacon show

15 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It is no easier to make a good painting,’ wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, than it is…

Virtuosic exploration of paint: Frank Bowling at Tate Britain reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

‘The possibilities of paint,’ Frank Bowling has observed, ‘are endless.’ The superb career retrospective of his work at Tate Britain…

The stuff of nightmares: ‘The Five Firemen’, 1938, by Grace Pailthorpe

British surrealism at its most remarkable and nightmarish

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Holding the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936 was a coup for the British avant-garde, putting newbie surrealists such…

A mesmerising retrospective: Victoria Crowe at City Art Centre, Edinburgh, reviewed

25 May 2019 9:00 am

This mesmerising retrospective takes up three floors of the City Art Centre, moving in distinct stages from the reedy flanks…

The eyes have it: ‘The Zebra’, 1763, by George Stubbs

What makes British art British?

27 April 2019 9:00 am

There’s no avoiding the Britishness of British art. It hits me every time I walk outside and see dappled trees…

‘Landline Star’, 2017, Sean Scully

A beautiful exhibition of a magnificent painter: Sean Scully at the National Gallery reviewed

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Sean Scully once told me about his early days as a plasterer’s mate. At the age of 17 he was…

‘Head by Head’, 1905, by Edvard Munch

Absorbing – a masterclass in print-making: Edvard Munch at the British Museum reviewed

13 April 2019 9:00 am

An eyewitness described Edvard Munch supervising the print of a colour lithograph in 1896. He stood in front of the…

Why were the Victorians so obsessed with the moon?

6 April 2019 9:00 am

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a group of slightly ramshackle workmen decide to put on a play. The play…

‘Scenes from the Passion: The Hawthorne Tree’, 2001, by George Shaw

The joy of George Shaw’s miserable paintings of a Coventry council estate

30 March 2019 9:00 am

All good narrative painting contains an element of allegory, but most artists don’t go looking for it on a Coventry…

Full of lovely paintings that might lead you astray: The Renaissance Nude reviewed

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Early in the 16th century, Fra Bartolomeo painted an altarpiece of St Sebastian for the church of San Marco in…

Soft cell: ‘Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202’, 1970–73, by Dorothea Tanning

Wicked, humorous and high-spirited: Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern reviewed

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Art movements come and go but surrealism, in one form or another, has always been with us. Centuries before Freud’s…

‘Afternoon at the Beach in Valencia’, 1904, by Joaquin Sorolla

Enjoy a blast of Spanish sun from Joaquin Sorolla

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Artists can be trained, but they are formed by their earliest impressions: a child of five may not be able…

A great example of how Radio 4 is using new technologies to enhance audio

9 March 2019 9:00 am

‘It’s too familiar, too obvious,’ says Cathy FitzGerald at the beginning of her new interactive series for Radio 4, Moving…