Tim Smith-Laing holds a DPhil on early modern mythography from Merton College, Oxford

Bass instincts: Pennie Smith’s legendary photo of the moment Paul Simonon smashed his guitar on-stage, on the cover of the ‘London Calling’ album.

How a smashed-up bass guitar became the ultimate punk rock relic

The Clash bassist’s pulverised instrument can now be worshipped at the Museum of London

3 Aug 2021
The Specials photographed in 1980.

2 Tone was never just about the music – as this show in Coventry makes clear

2 Tone began as a ska-inspired record label, but swiftly became a look and a political stance – and a defining moment in British cultural history

9 Jun 2021
Charles Baudelaire (c. 1863), Etienne Carjat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The cantankerous criticism of Charles Baudelaire

On the bicentenary of the poet’s birth, his art criticism still hums with outrage

12 Apr 2021
Inferno (XXVI–XXVIII) (1586–88), Federico Zuccari.

Dante has stumped many an artist – but these delicate drawings are truly divine

Federico Zuccari’s illustrations of the Divine Comedy have seldom been shown. But the Uffizi has put them online – and Dante’s poem has never looked better

1 Feb 2021
The anti-Bob Ross? John Lurie in Painting with John.

John Lurie’s grumpy painting is a joy to behold

The crotchety cult legend is giving art lessons on TV – and it’s all surprisingly charming

29 Jan 2021
I am The Last of my Kind (2019), Tracey Emin.

The agony and the ecstasy – Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch at the RA, reviewed

This triumphant double bill brims with emotion – from the pain of loss to the pleasures of beauty

22 Dec 2020
Monstre (n.d.), Leopold Chauveau.

Best of fiends – the monsters of Léopold Chauveau

These modern monsters may look lonely, but they’re familiar figures – descendants of the Parisian beasts of Viollet-le-Duc and Charles Meryon

27 Jun 2020
Decameron (detail; 1837), Franz Xaver Winterhalter. The Princely Collections, Liechtenstein, Vaduz-Vienna

‘Boccaccio and the Black Death have been doing the rounds’

The Decameron is but one of the historical touchstones that commentators have turned to during the health crisis. But do they really help us orientate ourselves?

1 Jun 2020
Potato Head (detail; c. 1963–65), Sigmar Polke.

Floating around on Planet Polke

Potatoes orbit around barstools and beer spurts out of coasters in the whimsical worlds explored by Sigmar Polke

13 Feb 2020
I Am Still Learning (detail; 1824–28), Francisco de Goya. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

‘For Goya, the normal, the terrible, and the fantastical existed cheek by jowl’

A gathering of some 300 drawings at the Prado is a comprehensive guide to life in the artist’s cruel and chaotic world

1 Feb 2020

Van Dyck, the artist’s artist

An exhibition in Munich explores the less familiar aspects of the portraitist’s work, including the support he gave to his peers

2 Dec 2019
The embrace (2015–16), Marlene Dumas, in Venus & Adonis (2019; David Zwirner Books).

Venus enlargement? Marlene Dumas takes on Shakespeare’s erotic verse

The artist is one of few to have attempted to illustrate Venus and Adonis

16 Oct 2019
Berlinde De Bruyckere, photographed in her studio in Ghent in October 2018.

The bleak beauty of Berlinde de Bruyckere

An interview with the Belgian sculptor, who discusses hope, suffering, bodies, and blankets

15 Dec 2018
Studies of the Nose and Mouth (c. 1622), Jusepe de Ribera.

The everyday cruelty of Ribera’s world

The baroque painter’s depictions of human suffering are extreme – but so was the violence of much early modern life

6 Dec 2018
Peasant Dance, Pieter Bruegel

The sophisticated side of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Bruegel may have painted many peasants, but he was one of the most complex – and urbane – artists of his day

27 Oct 2018
The Yawner (side view; c. 1770–83), Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.

The many faces of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

The distorted Character Heads of the 18th-century sculptor have long perplexed critics

28 Jul 2018
Untitled from the series Imagined States and Desires: A Balkan Journey (1999–2003).

The Barbican’s photography double bill speaks powerfully to our times

The photographs of Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship share a fascination with society in flux

21 Jul 2018

Cooking up a storm in Picasso’s kitchen

An exploration of Picasso’s passion for food sheds new light on the artist’s other appetites

28 Jun 2018
Family Fortunes (detail; 2018), Dale Lewis.

The joys of junk food

Appetite is a central theme in the exuberant paintings of Dale Lewis, at Edel Assanti in London

19 Feb 2018

The remarkable legacy of Johan Maelwael

This superbly curated exhibition transforms our understanding of medieval art history

6 Jan 2018
Still from the opposite The Opposite of Time (2017) by Andy Holden. 'Andy Holden & Peter Holden: Natural Selection' (2017), an Artangel commission. Photo: Marcus J. Leith

Why Andy Holden flew back to the nest

Artist Andy Holden has collaborated with his father, the ornithologist Peter Holden, on an Artangel project exploring our fascination with ‘home’

2 Nov 2017
Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones, and Tints, Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon in 1890 (1980), Paul Signac. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

MoMA’s collection highlights fail to shine in Paris

MoMA’s ‘greatest hits’ are superb, of course – but are they a little too familiar?

26 Oct 2017
'The Disasters of Everyday Life', installation view at Blain|Southern, 2017. Courtesy the artists and Blain|Southern. Photo: Peter Mallet

The new Chapman brothers show is delightful and disturbing – and you need to see it

Featuring Goya, teddy bears and suicide vests, ‘The Disasters of Everyday Life’ is puerile, provocative, and superb

2 Oct 2017
Temporary Enclosure of Carioca Building Construction Site (1971), Jirō Takamatsu.

The political backdrop to Jirō Takamatsu’s art

The Japanese artist deserves to be better known in Britain, but his playful, political work suffers out of context

19 Jul 2017