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

How cuteness conquered the world

An aww-inspiring exhibition explores adorability through the ages, and suggests it can be subversive as well as sweet

14 Feb 2024

Christian Marclay opens the doors of our perception

The artist’s compilation of entrances and exits in the movies takes viewers deep into a labyrinth – and leaves us to find our own way out

22 Sep 2023

The fake’s progress – an introduction to the art of forgery at the Courtauld

A display of counterfeit works offers an object lesson in what a masterpiece really is – but it could have had more fun with the subject

25 Jul 2023
A newly rehung room in Tate Britain, 2023. Photo © Tate / Seraphina Neville

Don’t blame the culture wars for Tate Britain’s disappointing rehang

The much-debated new displays suffer from weak artworks, tokenism and terrible lighting

30 May 2023

Frank Auerbach faces himself

At the age of 91, the artist has produced a series of remarkable self-portraits, now on show at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert

28 Apr 2023
Photo: © Anne-Katrin Purkiss, 1991; courtesy studio fo Tom Phillips

The most approachable avant-garde artist in Britain – a tribute to Tom Phillips (1937–2022)

The artist who effortlessly crossed genres, but stayed close to south London, was best known for ‘A Humument’, a masterpiece 50 years in the making

4 Dec 2022
Subway, from the series One Hundred New Views of Tokyo (1931), Senpan Maekawa.

For the real Tokyo story, look beyond kooky stereotypes of the city

An ambitious show at the Ashmolean Museum looks past the familiar clichés to the real city and its artists 

5 Oct 2021
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