Max Norman is a freelance writer.

The self-assured sculptures of Pomona Zipser

With deceptively rickety creations that conceal the care that went into their making, the artist wittily questions our ideas about craft

9 Aug 2023
Restoration, Villa Borghese by Milton Gendel

The American who conquered cafe society in Rome

For seven decades, Milton Gendel recorded his charmed existence in delightfully candid photos and diaries

28 Nov 2022
Colosseum, Rome (c. 1855), James Anderson.

The British photographers who took their visual cues from the Grand Tour

Victorian photographers in Italy were inevitably influenced by forms of landscape painting made popular in the preceding century

30 May 2022

Mary Weatherford takes on Titian in his hometown

The Californian painter’s responses to ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’ have a sublime quality all of its own

26 Apr 2022
Ritratto di bambina (c. 1770), Lorenzo Tiepolo.

Infant prodigy – is this the most unusual baby picture in art history?

Lorenzo Tiepolo has long languished in the shadow of his much more famous father and brother – but his was a very singular talent

4 Feb 2022
The Rocchetta Mattei, begun by Count Cesare Mattei (1809–96) in 1850.

‘The Rocchetta Mattei is Italy’s Hearst Castle’

Max Norman visits the very peculiar home of an eccentric count who tried to derive electricity from vegetables

17 Dec 2021
W. W. Fowler, The Coleoptera of the British Islands, Vol. 5, 1891. China Blue is visible on the bottom left.

This colour chart of nature is completely mad – and utterly beguiling

An Enlightenment project to classify all the colours in the natural world is an extraordinary feat of ingenuity

3 Aug 2021
The Doge’s Room. Photo: Matteo De Fina

Going to the doge’s – the Palazzo Grimani puts on a powerful display

At the Palazzo Grimani, more classical sculptures can now be seen in the splendid rooms in which they were once displayed

7 Jul 2021
The Nurture of Jupiter (c. 1639), Nicolas Poussin. Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Dual purpose – passion and reason in the art of Nicolas Poussin

A new study emphasises the marriage of thought and feeling in the painter’s work

22 Apr 2020
Madonna at the Fountain (detail; 1439), Jan van Eyck.

Van Eyck does the best he can in Vienna

A focused display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum brings the painter’s ingenuity to the fore

28 Aug 2019
Self Portrait with Skeleton Arm (detail; 1895), Edvard Munch.

Munch’s prints are obsessive and repetitive – but a revelation all the same

He took to the medium with great speed, producing works that display a rich debt to the Old Masters

22 May 2019
Detail from a page of the Codex Mexicana, c. 1541, created as a handbook for Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Spain, providing him with information about his new province. The writing is in the Mexica language, Nahuatl, and Spanish. Image courtesy Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

A new tower of Babel rises in the Bodleian Library

We know what translation can do – but what does it look like? Eight centuries of multilingual activity is on show in Oxford

17 Apr 2019
Bust of Antinous with Greek inscription, (AD 130–138), discovered in Balanea, Syria in 1879. Private collection

The most beautiful boy in the Roman empire

Antinous, favourite of the emperor Hadrian, was commemorated all over the Roman world. He is a more troubling figure today

18 Jan 2019