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

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
Prayer nut with The Nativity and The Adoration of the Magi (detail; c. 1510–25), Adam Dircksz and workshop

Small but perfectly formed

Examples of Dutch micro-carving on show at the Rijksmuseum are full of astounding detail

28 Jun 2017
Minotaure dans une barque sauvant une femme (1937), Pablo Picasso. Private collection. Photo: Eric Baudouin; Courtesy Gagosian; © 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

What the Minotaur can tell us about Picasso

An exhibition documenting Picasso’s obsession with minotaurs and matadors is a curatorial triumph

2 May 2017
Apollo and Marsyas and the Judgement of Midas (1581), Melchior Meier. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Ovid’s Metamorphoses is the ultimate sourcebook for artists

Ovid’s epic mythological poem has fired the imaginations of artists since the Renaissance

22 Apr 2017

Up close and personal with illuminated manuscripts

This is a gem of a book, full of scholarly insight

25 Jan 2017
screestage (2013), Phyllida Barlow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The Hepworth sculpture prize exhibition is completely baffling – in a good way

Materials range from concrete to soap bubbles; subjects include mass extinction and internet cats. This is a bizarre mix of work, but a fascinating one

23 Nov 2016
A RESTORATION (2016), Elizabeth Price, two-screen video still.

This is reckless restoration of the very best kind

Elizabeth Price’s new video is an audacious act of extrapolation, that asks deep questions about our impulse to preserve, restore, and destroy

1 Apr 2016

The brightly painted books that outshine Botticelli

An exhibition at the Courtauld proves few things are more tantalising than a beautiful manuscript under glass

4 Mar 2016

So who the hell was Hieronymus Bosch?

We misunderstand the artist if we fail to look past his grotesque beasts and monsters

1 Mar 2016

Finally, an Alec Soth show in London

This major solo show reveals just how much Soth’s frank stare pervades his photographs

21 Nov 2015

Horrible Art Histories

A look at how the genre of the grotesque has unfolded from the Renaissance to the present day

6 Apr 2015