Apollo's wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories. Got a story for Rakewell? Email rakewell@apollomag.com. Follow @Rakewelltweets.

Immaterial girl – Madonna enters the metaverse

Madonna was once NSFW. Now, thanks to Beeple, she has turned herself into an NFT

15 May 2022
Portrait of Roy Keane (2020), Toby Michael. © the artist

Roy Keane’s long road to respectability

The winning entry in the inaugural Football Art Prize depicts Roy Keane in sombre mood, but Rakewell still treasures the player-turned-pundit’s more devilish side

8 May 2022

A question for Viola Davis: what is the world without critics?

Following Viola Davis’ recent claim that critics serve no purpose, Rakewell asks the actor to reconsider their role as champions of the overlooked

29 Apr 2022

Peacockery – the male artists vying for attention at the Venice Biennale

Rakewell finds that Cecilia Alemani’s focus on women artists at the Venice Biennale is ruffling a few feathers among the males of the species

22 Apr 2022
Alexander Skarsgård The Northman.

The long shadow of the long sword

After recent revelations about the inspirations behind ‘The Northman’, Rakewell regards its director Robert Eggers as a man of refined sensibilities

14 Apr 2022
Jean Smart, Hacks

The most important art collector on TV

Rakewell marvels at HBO’s surprisingly true-to-life portrayal of the obsessive art collector in pursuit of a Jean Royère pepper shaker

7 Apr 2022

The art historian who became a Viking

Rakewell applauds Ghislaine Wood, deputy of director of the Sainsbury Centre and now the proud Godmother of a Viking longship

1 Apr 2022
Wings of Glory

Fear and loathing at Chatsworth House

Rakewell wonders what to make of the artists of Burning Man festival taking over Capability Brown’s idyllic landscape in Derbyshire

25 Mar 2022
The real thing: Anna Sorokin being led away after being sentenced in May 2019 following a conviction for multiple counts of grand larceny and theft of services.

Is Anna Sorokin bringing prison art back in vogue?

The scammer of the art world has now joined its ranks – but how does the work she has made in jail measure up to the great prison art of the past?

18 Mar 2022
Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Robert Pattinson as Batman, 2022. Photo: Jonathan Olley; courtesy Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo; © Warner Bros

Whatever happened to Bruce Wayne’s good taste?

Robert Pattinson’s caped crusader has a fine line in leather boots – but, alas, none of his forebears’ flair for home decoration

13 Mar 2022
Richard Gere in American Gigolo.

Richard Gere gets in touch with his spiritual side

The film star has spoken of the spiritual qualities of the photographs in his collection, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting them up for auction

4 Mar 2022
Richard Griffiths as Uncle Monty in 'Withnail and I’.

Uncle Monty, auction darling

The items that furnished Uncle Monty’s apartment in ‘Withnail and I’ have proved quite the draw at auction

27 Feb 2022
The Rex Whistler mural at Tate Britain

Who would take on the Tate’s Rex Whistler mural?

The Tate has announced a new commission to respond to its racist mural but why would any artist accept?

18 Feb 2022
Triptych 1986-7 (detail)

Is Francis Bacon really the greatest painter of the 20th century?

As a triptych comes to auction, Rakewell wonders if we have finally found an artist whose talent is unquestionable

13 Feb 2022
Gwyneth Paltrow in 2020.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s inspiration

Rakewell revels in the latest interiors shoot of the actor’s house, but is there an ugly truth behind the beautiful surface?

6 Feb 2022
Left: Blue Rinse, as sported by Mollie Sugden in ‘Are You Being Served?’ Right: Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022

Oh Pantone, why so blue?

Rakewell wonders whether Pantone’s ’Color of the Year 2022’ might not belong more comfortably to an earlier era

28 Jan 2022
Meat Loaf in Hong Kong, promoting his album ‘Bat Out of Hell III-The Monster Is Loose’ in 2006.

A total artist – in memoriam Meat Loaf

Rakewell pays tribute to the late, great Marvin Lee Aday, who combined art forms with an originality matched only by Richard Wagner

21 Jan 2022
Up to the Gill – an activist with a hammer scales the BBC’s Broadcasting House. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Art attack – when vandals strike

After the hammer attack on Eric Gill’s statue of ‘Prospero and Ariel’, Rakewell reflects upon other artworks that have seized the imagination of vandals

16 Jan 2022
Marlon Brando as Napoleon Bonaparte.

Hollywood’s Waterloo – the art of playing Napoleon

Ridley Scott is pressing ahead with his biopic about Bonaparte – but Rakewell has a modest proposal regarding the leading man

9 Jan 2022
Le Défenseur (Counsel for the Defense) (c. 1862/65), Honoré Daumier.

Drawn with conviction – a brief history of courtroom art

Like many of the most notorious trials of modern times, Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial has been summed up by a skilful courtroom sketch artist

18 Dec 2021
Ghost of Christmas parties past – Mr Fezziwig's Ball by John Leech, from Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' (1843).

The art of Christmas parties

The Dickensian illustrator John Leech would have been the ideal artist to capture the spirit of Downing Street festivities – fictional or otherwise

10 Dec 2021
A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte

What Stephen Sondheim saw in Georges Seurat

The pointillist painter inspired the composer and lyricist to make his most personal artistic statement

5 Dec 2021
Claudia Roth at the Deutscher Hoerfilmpreis, Berlin, in 2019.

The culture ministers who really are culture vultures

Delighted by the fact that the new German culture minister once managed a rock band, Rakewell recalls other culture ministers with an artistic bent

28 Nov 2021
Gal Gadot’s art thief eyes up one of ‘Cleopatra’s eggs’ in 'Red Notice'.

Gal Gadot turns to art crime, with The Rock in hot pursuit

’Red Notice’ may not be most sophisticated heist film, but it’s hard to resist The Rock on the trail of Wonder Woman

21 Nov 2021