Features

Millicent Fawcett (detail; 1898), Theodore Blake Wirgman. Royal Holloway, University of London

Vote winner – a newly discovered portrait of Millicent Fawcett is a significant find

The painting at Royal Holloway presents a more reflective side of the tireless campaigner

12 May 2020
Dr Matthew Maty (1754), Barthelemy Dupan.

The Huguenot doctor who helped to fight smallpox – and worked at the British Museum

Matthew Maty, a leading advocate for inoculation, was also a librarian at the British Museum – and one of its early donors

11 May 2020
The restored Antikenhalle, or Hall of Antiquities, in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.

King of the Zwinger – Dresden’s most important museum is more majestic than ever

The jewel in the crown of the city’s palatial complex of museums now shows off its masterpieces to even better effect

9 May 2020
Photograph taken at Balmoral in 1893/94 by Charles Albert Wilson. Ethel Cadogan, Lord William Cecil and Dr Alexander Profeit re-enact a scene from Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott in which Rebecca and a page kneel over Ivanhoe. Royal Collection Trust/© HM Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Making a scene – how the Victorians brought the past to life

Recreating scenes from famous paintings has been all the rage of lockdown, but it’s the Victorians who first played make-believe in earnest

7 May 2020
Mudlarking

How my mudlarking finds have kept me company in convalescence

Beads, bottles, broken plates… these scraps of London’s history provide a welcome distraction in a time of sickness and solitude

5 May 2020
Germano Celant (1940–2020).

‘A giant of Italian art’ – on Germano Celant (1940–2020)

The critic and curator, who coined the term Arte Povera, played a large part in shaping the art world as we know it

4 May 2020
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in January 2020.

Trial by fire – the rush to rebuild Notre-Dame

Was the pledge to restore the cathedral in just five years a reasonable commitment or a rash promise?

Florence Nightingale photographed by Millbourn in c. 1890. Wellcome Collection, London (CC BY 4.0)

How Victorian artists saw Florence Nightingale

The bicentenary of the founder of modern nursing has a particularly topical resonance, but how did her contemporaries regard the Lady with the Lamp?

4 May 2020
Detail showing the ‘second cabinet’ on page 50 of the Catalogue des Tableaux de Mr Julienne (c. 1756), compiled by Jean-Baptiste-François de Montullé. Morgan Library and Museum, New York

Getting the hang of it – a look inside the home of an 18th-century collector in Paris

An illustrated inventory made for Jean de Jullienne shows us how his paintings were displayed

29 Apr 2020
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura) (detail; c. 1638–39), Artemisia Gentileschi.

The trials and triumphs of Artemisia Gentileschi

The artist knew exactly how to cultivate her own image, ensuring her great success – both then and now

25 Apr 2020
Cameo of Shapur and Valerian (detail; after 260), Iran. Photo: © Bibliothèque nationale de France

Knight riders – displays of chivalry at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

The museum makes the most of its French connections in this survey of conduct across medieval Europe and the Middle East

24 Apr 2020
Detail of photograph of (left to right) Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Sonia Delaunay, and Jean (Hans) Arp in Grasse in 1942.

The modern artists who made the most of isolation

Sequestered in a French chateau in the 1940s, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay and Alberto Magnelli joined forces to create the ‘Album Grasse’

21 Apr 2020
Octagonal Drawing (1976), Ann Churchill.

When the medium is the messenger – the art of communicating with spirits

From Victorian spiritualists to contemporary practitioners, there is a long history of art – and drawing in particular – taking an interest in the unseen

20 Apr 2020
Shropshire Regiment ‘Whitewash Brigade’ emptying items from Chinese homes in Taipingshan, Hong Kong, and burning them on the street as an epidemic control measure during the 1894 plague outbreak.

How photography has shaped our experience of pandemics

From lockdowns to mass burials, the ways we visualise Covid-19 were established by photographers in the late 19th century

16 Apr 2020

Artists on the books keeping them company in isolation

From Nikolai Gogol to Susan Sontag, Joan Didion to Olga Tokarczuk: the authors inspiring artists during a time of lockdown

15 Apr 2020
Wrap-around dust jacket designed by John Minton for Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food (1950)

Lads and lobsters – John Minton’s food illustrations

The artist’s designs for Elizabeth David’s cookery books evoke a happy world of fine living and dining

13 Apr 2020
Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera (1717), Antoine Watteau. Musée du Louvre, Paris, Photo: © Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN-Grand Palais

Fashion forward – the dashing designs of Antoine Watteau

The artist’s fashion etchings hint at the delight in transient pleasures that is so evident in his paintings

11 Apr 2020
Courtesy the British Museum

Behind the screens – how museums and galleries are going virtual

What exactly does it take to create an online exhibition? And will such platforms still be of use after lockdown?

9 Apr 2020
Chicken, Game Birds, and Hares (c. 1882), Gustave Caillebotte.

Acquisitions of the Month: March 2020

A transformative gift for Cleveland Museum of Art and some metal detectorists’ finds are among this month’s highlights

7 Apr 2020
William Wordsworth (detail; 1842), Benjamin Robert Haydon. National Portrait Gallery, London

The inward eye – painting, poetry and the world of William Wordsworth

The 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth prompts a reflection on his complicated relationship with the visual arts

7 Apr 2020
‘Ways of Seeing’ app in use before Jacopo del Sellaio’s painting in the Octagon Gallery at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Schoolchildren, science and smartphones shine new light on a Florentine masterpiece

An interdisciplinary project at the Fitzwilliam Museum has revealed tantalising possibilities about Jacopo del Sellaio’s Cupid and Psyche

Barbara Palmer (née Villiers), Duchess of Cleveland with her son, probably Charles Fitzroy, as the Virgin and Child (c. 1664), Peter Lely. National Portrait Gallery, London

Mischief-making mistresses at the court of Charles II

How the women at the heart of the Restoration court ‘weaponised’ portraits that flaunted their influence over the king

4 Apr 2020
Susanna and the Elders (1652), Artemisia Gentileschi.

Keeping up with Artemisia

The National Gallery’s Artemisia exhibition may be postponed, writes its curator, but there are plenty of ways to explore her work in the meantime

3 Apr 2020
Wallpaper design, ‘Trellis’ (detail; designed 1862, first produced 1864), William Morris. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Priming up the walls – on colour and confinement

Some choose their wallpaper, some have paint schemes thrust upon them… a decorative dérive through the history of colour and interiors

1 Apr 2020