‘Woman at Her Toilette’, 1875/80, by Berthe Morisot

2015 in exhibitions - painting still rules

The art on show over the coming year demonstrates that we still live in an age of mighty painters, says Martin Gayford

‘The Census at Bethlehem’, 1566, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Climate change, Bruegel-style

The world depicted by the Flemish master is not so different from our own, says Martin Gayford

‘Melting Snow at Wormingford’, 1962, by John Nash

Snow - art’s biggest challenge

In owning a flock of artificial sheep, Joseph Farquharson must have been unusual among Highland lairds a century ago. His…

‘North Cape’, probably 1840s, by Peder Balke

We must never again let this 19th century Norwegian master slip into oblivion

You won’t have heard of Peder Balke. Yet this long-neglected painter from 19th-century Norway is now the subject of a…

‘Chair’, 1969, by Allen Jones, which had acid thrown on it in 1986

Does Allen Jones deserve a retrospective at the Royal Academy?

It has been a vintage season for mannequins. At the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, an exhibition called Silent Partners looks…

David Hockney at work in his studio, c.1967

David Hockney interview: ‘The avant-garde have lost their authority’

David Hockney talks to Martin Gayford about 60 years of ignoring art fashion

‘Gian Girolamo Albani’, c.1570, by Giovanni Battista Moroni

Without a model, Moroni could be stunningly dull. With one, he was peerless...

Giovanni Battista Moroni, wrote Bernard Berenson, was ‘the only mere portrait painter that Italy has ever produced’. Indeed, Berenson continued,…

‘Before the Mirror’, 1913, by Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele at the Courtauld: a one-note samba of spindly limbs, nipples and pudenda

One day, as a student — or so the story goes — Egon Schiele called on Gustav Klimt, a celebrated…

‘Hat Stand’, 1969, one of a group of three sculptures that caused controversy early on in the artist’s career

The pop artist whose transgressions went too far – for the PC art world

After years of being effectively banned from exhibiting in his own country, Allen Jones finally reaches the RA with his first major UK retrospective. Andrew Lambirth meets him


Mr Turner: the gruntiest, snortiest, huffiest film of the year - and the most beautiful too

Mr Turner may be the gruntiest film of the year, possibly the gruntiest film ever. ‘Grunt, grunt, grunt,’ goes Mr…

Finding his feet: ‘Untitled (man and two women in a pastoral setting)’, 1940

How Rothko become the mythic superman of mystical abstraction

Mark Rothko was an abstract artist who didn’t see himself as an abstract artist — or at least not in…

'Supermarkets' (1976), by Sigmar Polke. Picture: The Estate of Sigmar Polke

Tate Modern’s latest show feels like it’s from another planet

‘Some day we shall no longer need pictures: we shall just be happy.’ — Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, 1966…

‘Winter Landscape (Winterlandschaft)’, 1970, by Anselm Kiefer

All my doubts about Anselm Kiefer are blown away by his Royal Academy show

In the Royal Academy’s courtyard are two large glass cases or vitrines containing model submarines. In one the sea has…

‘Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railway’, 1844, by J.M.W. Turner

Tate Britain’s Turner show reveals an old master - though the Spectator didn’t think so at the time

Juvenilia is the work produced during an artist’s youth. It would seem logical to think, therefore, that an artist’s output…

Portrait of a couple as Isaac and Rebecca, known as ‘The Jewish Bride’, c.1665, by Rembrandt

Why everyone loves Rembrandt

Talking of Rembrandt’s ‘The Jewish Bride’ to a friend, Vincent van Gogh went — characteristically — over the top. ‘I…

‘Interior (Innenraum)’, 1981, by Anselm Kiefer

'I like vanished things': Anselm Kiefer on art, alchemy and his childhood

Martin Gayford talks to a surprisingly jolly Anselm Kiefer about art and metamorphosis

‘Futurist Motif’, 1920, by Gerardo Dottori

Futurism’s escape to the country

Futurism, with its populist mix of explosive rhetoric (burn all the museums!) and resolutely urban experience and emphasis on speed,…

Who’s in, who’s out: George Bernard O’Neill’s ‘Public Opinion’ depicts a private view of the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy

The age of the starving artist

Philip Hensher on the precarious fortunes of even the most gifted 19th-century artists

How can I train my brother to not eat like a pig?

Dear Mary: How can I tame my brother’s savage table manners?

Q. I live far away from my brother and his family, but went to stay with them recently for the…

Della Francesca’s ‘Resurrection’

The mathematical revolution behind ‘the greatest picture in the world’

The Indian inspiration with which Piero della Francesca created ‘the greatest picture in the world’


Do critics make good artists? Come and judge ours

Artists make good critics, but do critics make good artists? It’s hard to tell, when most are too chicken to…

The Hunters in the Snow, 1565, by Pieter Brueghel Photo: De Agostini/Getty

A spirit to warm Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the Snow’

The ostensible subject matter is misleading, as is any conflation with his lesser relatives’ wassailing peasants and roistering village squares.…

‘Artist’s Studio “Look Mickey”’, 1973, by Roy Lichtenstein

How Roy Lichtenstein became weighed down with superficiality

Andrew Lambirth finds that Roy Lichtenstein became weighed down with superficiality

Ominously unstable elements of ocean and atmosphere: ‘Turning Vessel’ by Peter Archer

Peter Archer — Notes from an Inland Sea

Peter Archer used to paint landscapes on the Cornish side of the Tamar river. Their most notable features were lovingly…

‘The Badminton Game’ 1972–3, by David Inshaw

David Inshaw: the great romantic

Andrew Lambirth talks to the painter David Inshaw, who is inspired by a love of the countryside