Features

Red cabbages and onions (1887), Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Can machines do art history?

Art historians may be sceptical about artificial intelligence, but machine learning might enlarge our capacity for observation – and even revive connoisseurship

3 Dec 2021
Vinette Robinson and Stephen Graham in Boiling Point (2021). Image courtesy Vertigo Releasing

How to turn up the heat in a feature film? Make your actors cook in real time

Philip Barantini shot his 90-minute movie about the drama of a busy restaurant service in one take – and it’s nail-biting stuff

30 Nov 2021
A&E, Adolf/Adam & Eva/Eve

Performance anxiety – Paul McCarthy makes his audience incredibly uneasy

The artist’s first performance in a decade was a lot, even for the most ‘open-minded’ onlookers

26 Nov 2021
The new 13-storey MUNCH museum, designed by Estudio Herreros, on the waterfront in Oslo.

In Oslo, the mammoth new Munch museum is a surprisingly joyful affair

The vast waterfront complex is a fitting emblem of the painter’s outsized importance to the city

22 Nov 2021
Watercolor. No. 5 (1942), Raymond Jonson. Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.

The artists who wanted to rise above it all

The Transcendental Painting Group in New Mexico was sidelined for its esoteric beliefs, but its members are well worth another look

20 Nov 2021
The Road Menders (1889), Van Gogh. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

The museum that introduced America to modern art

As the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. celebrates its centenary, the museum is also looking firmly to the future

19 Nov 2021
A giant amethyst geode from Uruguay, installed in the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Jewel identity – what can we glean from gems and minerals in museums?

In museums, minerals are both everyday matter and also objects of scientific interest – but they carry more intangible meanings too

18 Nov 2021
A billboard for Balenciaga on a church in Venice in 2017.

The billboards that are turning Venice into an eyesore

Luxury brands are certainly contributing to the conservation of Venice – but massive advertisements on historic buildings are starting to spoil the views

9 Nov 2021
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1872), Vasily Perov. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Dostoevsky’s distrust of the West ran deep – but so did his love of the Old Masters

The novelist revered Raphael’s ‘Sistine Madonna’ with an intensity normally reserved for icons – and Holbein’s Dead Christ almost induced an epileptic fit

3 Nov 2021
Echo (detail; 1952), Yildiz Moran. Yildiz Moran Archive

Looking for the lost women of modern Turkish art

In Istanbul, an exhibition of works created by women between 1850 and 1950 has made some impressive finds

1 Nov 2021
David Livingstone (1813–71), photographed in 1864 by Thomas Annan.

Missionary position – David Livingstone’s birthplace gets a makeover

It’s not easy to repackage a museum devoted to a Victorian missionary, but the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum has pulled it off

25 Oct 2021
A Bacchanalian Revel before a Term (detail; 1632–33), Nicolas Poussin. The National Gallery

Poussin’s dancers pass the test of time

Time is suspended in Nicolas Poussin’s paintings of dancers who revel in the viewer’s attention

23 Oct 2021

The Aztec origins of John Dee’s famous mirror are quite the mystery

The discovery that the astrologer’s ‘scrying glass’ is made of obsidian from Mexico points to the complex global webs surrounding many Tudor objects

22 Oct 2021
The Museum of Making, formerly Derby Industrial Museum, located on the site of the city's 18th-century silk mill.

Industrial revolutions – at the Museum of Making in Derby

The spirit of innovation and manufacture lives on in the Midlands city – as a redeveloped museum on the site of the old silk mill makes clear

20 Oct 2021
Carla Ecola, director of the Outside Project, lays memorial candles in Trafalgar Square as part of the Museum of Homelessness’s ‘Dying Homeless’ project (Photo: Anthony Luvera)

The streetwise ways of the Museum of Homelessness

From street actions to art exhibitions, the organisation empowers homeless people to tell their own stories

Oxford Botanic Garden in 2021.

Britain’s oldest botanical garden goes back to its roots

Oxford Botanic Garden has played a vital role in the evolution of plant science since it was founded 400 years ago

30 Sep 2021
Penitent Mary Magdalene (c. 1625–26), Artemisia Gentileschi. Private collection

Has a long-lost Artemisia finally come to light?

Painted in around 1625, the Penitent Mary Magdalene inspired a host of copies before disappearing. Now, it has resurfaced in a private collection

29 Sep 2021
Luma Arles, designed by Frank Gehry, in the Parc des Ateliers, Arles.

‘A kind of high-minded amusement park’ – at Frank Gehry’s Luma Arles

Will the glittering new arts complex bring about a ‘Bilbao effect’ in the southern French city?

27 Sep 2021

A sentimental education – the sisters who learnt to paint with the Pre-Raphaelites

Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown studied with their father and had close connections to the Pre-Raphaelites – but their achievements have been overlooked until now

24 Sep 2021

The artist searching for traces of the Tunisian revolution

Frustrated that memories of more hopeful times are fading, the artist Intissar Belaid is determined to preserve what she can

22 Sep 2021
The cave monastery of Sabereebi, Georgia.

‘For the full Indiana Jones experience, it is best approached on horseback’

The spectacular cave monastery of Sabereebi in Georgia is full of frescoes as stunning as their rocky setting

17 Sep 2021
Visitors showing their ‘green pass’ at the Vatican Museums in August 2021.

Admissible evidence – museum directors have their say on vaccine passports

Museum directors in France and Italy seem to agree that requiring proof of vaccination is preferable to being shut – although not everyone is on board

16 Sep 2021

The man who got Lucian Freud to pose as a Henry Moore

The legendary picture editor Bruce Bernard was famously modest about his own photography, but his portraits of Lucian Freud are peerless

10 Sep 2021
Henri Cernuschi photographed in 1876 by Count Stanislaw Julian Ostrorog (‘Walery’).

The failed Italian revolutionary who dedicated himself to Asian art

After his failure in politics, Henri Cernuschi succeeded in finance – and left an outstanding collection of Asian art to his adoptive city of Paris

4 Sep 2021