‘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…

Power tool: Elisabeth Frink carving ‘Dorset Martyrs’, c.1985

The work of Elisabeth Frink is ripe for a renaissance

21 November 2015 9:00 am

In a converted barn in Dorset, not far from the rural studio where she made many of her greatest sculptures,…

‘Untitled’, 1963, by Gillian Ayres

Britain's abstract painters deserve more attention than America's abstract expressionists

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Fifteen million pounds and a hefty slice of architectural vision have transformed the Whitworth from a fusty Victorian art temple…

'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…

Standing figure of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, wearing Roman military costume, 1st–2nd century AD and Seated figure of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, wearing Roman military costume, 1st–2nd century AD

Egypt: where gods are born and go to die

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Tom Holland on Egypt, where the deities were born and history itself began

‘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…

'Fire Woman', 2005, by Bill Viola

What is it about Bill Viola’s films that reduce grown-ups to tears?

17 October 2015 8:00 am

What is it about Bill Viola's films that reduce grown-ups to tears? William Cook dries his eyes and talks to the video artist about Zen, loss and nearly drowning

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…


Edmund de Waal’s diary: Selling nothing, and why writers need ping-pong

10 October 2015 9:00 am

On the top landing of the Royal Academy is the Sackler Sculpture Corridor, a long stony shelf of torsos of…

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…

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…

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…

Richard Long installing the large slate cross, Time and Space (2015), at the Arnolfini

Richard Long interview: ‘I was always an artist, even when I was two years old’

8 August 2015 9:00 am

William Cook explores the elemental art and Olympian walks of Richard Long

‘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…

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.…

‘Untitled (Tilly Losch)’, c.1935–38, by Joseph Cornell

Poetic or pretentious? Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust at the Royal Academy reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Someone once asked Joseph Cornell who was his favourite abstract artist of his time. It was a perfectly reasonable question…

Carsten Höller's 'Flying Mushrooms' (2015). Photo: Linda Nylind

The artist who turned the Hayward Gallery into Disney World

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Gianlorenzo Bernini stressed the difficulty of making a sculpture of a person out of a white material such as marble.…

West Façade Illumination, 2015, by James Turrell

James Turrell interview: ‘I sell blue sky and coloured air’

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford talks to the artist James Turrell, who has lit up Houghton Hall like a baroque firework display

RA Summer Exhibition 2015. Photo: John Bodkin / Royal Academy of Arts

Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition reviewed: a jumble sale with pizzazz

6 June 2015 9:00 am

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has very little in common with the Venice Biennale. However they do share one characteristic.…

One of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Scots pines in the French Pavilion

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale