‘Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman’ or ‘The Music Lesson’, 1662–5, by Vermeer

Artistic taste is inversely proportional to political nous

28 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Wherever the British settle, wherever they colonize,’ observed the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon, ‘they carry and will ever carry trial…

‘La Mort de Louis XIII’, 1731, by Jean-François de Troy

The strange death of Louis XIV

21 November 2015 9:00 am

At the beginning of the summer of 1715 Louis XIV complained of a pain in the leg. In mid-August gangrene…

'Antennae with Red and Blue Dots' by Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder: the man who made abstract art fly

14 November 2015 9:00 am

One day, in October 1930, Alexander Calder visited the great abstract painter Piet Mondrian in his apartment in Paris. The…

'Contrast (Order and Chaos)' (1950) by M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher: limited, repetitive, but he deserves a place in art history

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Surely,’ mused the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, ‘it is a bit absurd to draw a few lines and then claim:…

‘Street Kids’, c.1949–51, by Joan Eardley

Why I find women-only exhibitions depressing

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Modern Scottish Men, a new exhibition celebrating the achievements of male artists in the 20th century, opens next month in…

Hot seats: Charles and Ray Eames posing with chair bases

The couple behind the world’s most famous chair

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Peter Mandelson, in his moment of pomp, had his portrait taken by Lord Snowdon. He is sitting on a fine…

Clip from a video showing the site of a drone strike

How the pixel became a key feature of drone warfare

29 October 2015 9:00 am

I hadn’t really thought much about pixels before, despite spending a large portion of my day looking at them. After…


Repetitive but compelling: Giacometti at the National Portrait Gallery reviewed

24 October 2015 9:00 am

One day in 1938 Alberto Giacometti saw a marvellous sight on his bedroom ceiling. It was ‘a thread like a…

Master strokes: 'Head of William Feaver', 2003, by Frank Auerbach

With this Tate Britain exhibition, Frank Auerbach joins the masters

17 October 2015 8:00 am

No sooner had I stepped into the private view of Frank Auerbach’s exhibition at Tate Britain than I bumped into…

A novel in paint: Goya's 'The Family of the Infante Don Luís' (1783-4)

Why did Goya’s sitters put up with his brutal honesty?

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Sometimes, contrary to a widespread suspicion, critics do get it right. On 17 August, 1798 an anonymous contributor to the…

‘Dead Rabbit’, 1962, by Dennis Creffield

On the frontiers of figuration, abstraction and total immateriality

3 October 2015 8:00 am

The artist, according to Walter Sickert, ‘is he who can take a piece of flint and wring out of it…

Yuri Gagarin in the cabin of Vostok, the spacecraft in which he made the first human journey to outer space on 12 April, 1961

When technology was art: Cosmonauts at the Science Museum reviewed

26 September 2015 8:00 am

‘The dominant narrative of space,’ I was told, in that strange language curators employ, ‘is America.’ Quite so. Kennedy stared…

‘Night in Marrakesh’, 1968, by Brion Gysin

Cut-ups, hallucinations and Hermann Goering: the extraordinary life of Brion Gysin

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Among my more bohemian friends in 1980s London, Brion Gysin was a name spoken with a certain awe. He was…

Detail from Gundestrup cauldron, 100 BC–AD 1

The British Museum's Celtic masterpieces aren't Celtic - but they are fabulous

26 September 2015 8:00 am

‘Celtic’ is a word heavily charged with meanings. It refers, among other phenomena, to a football club, a group of…

‘Socialist realism and pop art in the battlefield’, 1969, by Equipo Cronica

The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern - our critic goes zzzzz

19 September 2015 8:00 am

The conventional history of modern art was written on the busy Paris-New York axis, as if nowhere else existed. For…

Left: ‘The Virgin and the Child’, c.1509, by Raphael Right: ‘Portrait of an unknown young woman’, c.1435, by Rogier van der Weyden

How silverpoint revolutionised art

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Marshall McLuhan got it at least half right. The medium may not always be the entire message, but it certainly…

Palpable painting: ‘Scandia’, 1971, Bernat Klein

Sensory overload: Paul Neagu, Anthony Caro and Bernat Klein reviewed

5 September 2015 9:00 am

‘The eye is fatigued, perverted, shallow, its culture is degenerate, degraded and obsolete.’ Welcome to the Palpable Art Manifesto of…

Ravilious in Essex: ‘Two Women in the Garden’, watercolour, 1932

The only art is Essex

29 August 2015 9:00 am

When I went to visit Edward Bawden he vigorously denied that there were any modern painters in Essex. That may…

Walter Sickert 'The Theatre of the Young Artists' (1890)

Between the death of Turner and advent of Bacon, there was no greater British painter

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Walter Sickert was fluid in both his art and his personality: changeable in style and technique, mutable in appearance —…

‘Turning Road (Route Tournante)’, c.1905, by Paul Cézanne

I can’t stop thinking about the Courtauld’s Unfinished exhibition

15 August 2015 9:00 am

A while ago, David Hockney mused on a proposal to tax the works of art stored in artists’ studios. ‘You’d…

‘Marie-Anne Françoise Liotard with a Doll’, c.1744, by Jean-Etienne Liotard

The forgotten Swiss portraitist and his extraordinary pastels: Jean-Etienne Liotard at the Scottish National Gallery reviewed

8 August 2015 9:00 am

This is not the biggest exhibition at Edinburgh and it will not be the best attended but it may be…

Turner's 'Shakespeare Cliff, Dover' (c.1825)

Whole worlds are conjured up in a few strokes: Watercolour at the Fitzwilliam Museum reviewed

1 August 2015 9:00 am

I learnt to splash about in watercolour at my grandmother’s knee. Or rather, sitting beside her crouched over a pad…

Portrait photograph of Richard Dadd painting Contradiction (c.1857) in Bedlem

The artist who only turned into a major painter once he became a homicidal maniac

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Charles Dickens’s description of Cobham Park, Kent, in The Pickwick Papers makes it seem a perfect English landscape. Among its…

‘Stonehenge’, c.1827, by J.M.W. Turner

There’s not a trace of shaving foam in sight in the early Turners on show at Salisbury Museum

18 July 2015 9:00 am

It has often been related how, towards the end of his long life, a critical barb got under J.M.W. Turner’s…

Detail of a maiolica vase, c.1565–1571, a star piece for both Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill and later for Baron Ferdinand at Waddesdon Manor

Forget Vienna - Britain now has its own chamber of curiosities at the British Museum

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Art is not jewellery. Its value does not reside in the price of the materials from which it is made.…