Features

Courtesy London Magnet Fishing

Pulling power – the murky magic of magnet fishing

It’s the aquatic cousin to metal detecting – and an increasing number of devotees are casting off into rivers and canals in search of trash and treasure

24 Jun 2021
Social influencer: Emmanuel Macron announcing the launch of the culture pass for 18 year olds on TikTok.

Emmanuel Macron wants every teenager in France to go on a cultural shopping spree – but will they?

Every 18 year old in France has been given €300 to spend on culture

Installation view of ‘Treasures from Chatsworth’, exhibited at Sotheby’s New York in 2019.

Period drama: do country house exhibitions need a shake-up?

Museums might be better at bringing the contents of grand historic piles to life than the houses themselves

19 Jun 2021
Self-portrait with mirror (1966), Michael Ayrton. Private collection.

Michael Ayrton was a maker of minotaurs – and is himself a forgotten giant

The British artist’s scope and influence have long been neglected – but at the centenary of his birth, will a pair of exhibitions turn the tide?

9 Jun 2021
Tableau piège – Sevilla Serie Nr. 16 (1991), Daniel Spoerri. MOCAK the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow.

The frozen dinners of Daniel Spoerri

The Swiss artist’s tableaux of tables capture the joys of dining in good company

9 Jun 2021
Detail of a work by Fatoş İrwen in ‘Exceptional Times’

For Kurdish artists in Turkey, simply making work is a political act

Works produced in prison by the artist Fatos Irwen speak to the increasingly repressive climate for Kurds in Turkey

8 Jun 2021
Ellen Terry (‘Choosing’) (detail; 1864), George Frederic Watts. National Portrait Gallery, London

Scents and sensibility: why smell counts in art

The visual arts have often toyed with odours and smells, however challenging they are to represent

5 Jun 2021
Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

‘The greatest story of gluttony’ – on the genius of Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The much-loved author cut his teeth on illustrations for medical ad campaigns – which proved ideal training for the world of children’s books

2 Jun 2021
Joseph Cornell with visitors to ‘A Joseph Cornell Exhibition for Children’ at the Cooper Union, New York in 1972. Photo: Denise Hare

All art is for children – and great art can make children of us all

Modern masters from Joseph Cornell to Paul Klee have produced works expressly for children, writes Ben Street – but perhaps all great art is a type of child’s play?

1 Jun 2021
Palazzo Vendramin Grimani (2021), Patrick Tourneboeuf.

On the Grand Canal, this crumbling Venetian palazzo has been given a new lease of life

The Palazzo Vendramin Grimani has opened with a display that reunites some of the paintings it was once home to – plus a helping of contemporary art

27 May 2021
Saint Cecilia (Allegory of Instrumental Music)

Raising the curtain on early Klimt

An early commission by the painter for a public theatre in Rijeka is the subject of a major display in the city this summer

27 May 2021
Still from Story of Yanxi Palace (2018), with the empress wearing a replica of a fengguan (phoenix crown) now in the Palace Museum, Beijing.

An audience with the Qianlong Emperor, via the small screen

The meticulous attention to Chinese decorative arts is as great a draw as the court intrigue in ‘Story of Yanxi Palace’

19 May 2021
Holding court: the refurbished Raphael Court at the V&A in 2021.

Museums are finally reopening – and these are the shows we don’t want to miss

Apollo’s editors pick out the museum shows that they’re most looking forward to visiting in coming weeks

15 May 2021
Captive audience: a close-up of the musical elephant automaton at Waddesdon Manor.

An elephant in the room, at Waddesdon Manor

Toys aren’t just for children, at least if a 250-year-old musical elephant at the grandest house in Buckinghamshire is anything to go by

14 May 2021
Archie Brennan weaving in Nunavut in 1991.

Weft dreams – the utopian tapestries of Archie Brennan

Archie Brennan was a committed craftsman with a fondness for optical illusions and a strong idealistic streak

12 May 2021
Head of a king (c. 4th century), Sasanian. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Iranian kings who thought the world revolved around them

As the last rulers of pre-Islamic Iran, the Sasanians crafted a grand courtly culture that would go on to influence kings from the Balkans to Bengal

8 May 2021
Joan Eardley sketching in her studio in Townhead, Glasgow (photo by Audrey Walker, c. 1949–51). Collection Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

‘Here are the contradictions of Glasgow laid bare, with love’ – in the footsteps of Joan Eardley

The painter’s tender portraits of slum life are being celebrated across Scotland in her centenary year 

4 May 2021

The eccentric English socialite who embraced Surrealism

Heir to a railway fortune and an 8,000-acre estate in West Sussex, Edward James transformed his homes into total works of art – with a little help from Dalí and friends

1 May 2021
Detail of Self-Portrait with Madrigal (c. 1578), attributed to Marietta Robusti. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence

The lost paintings of Marietta Robusti are a maddening Renaissance mystery

Tintoretto’s daughter was a highly acclaimed artist in her own right, but there is frustratingly little to go on when it comes to identifying her paintings

28 Apr 2021
A selection of the bookplates in Simon Martin’s collection, showing the following plates (clockwise from top left): William Nicholson’s for William Heinemann; Stephen Gooden’s for John Raymond Danson; John Craxton’s for Stephen and Natasha Spender; Keith Vaughan’s for Mervyn Jones Evans, John Nash’s for Lionel Bradley, Eric Gill’s for Mary Gill, E. McKnight Kauffer’s for Jeanette Rutherston, Keith Vaughan’s for John Lehmann, Gladys Calthrop’s for Nöel Coward, and E. McKnight Kauffer’s for Ifan Kyrle Fletcher.

Book keeping: the bookplates that are artworks in their own right

With their miniature artistry and enigmatic personal histories, these striking prints are often more enticing than the volumes they’re found in

23 Apr 2021
Flower Thief (NFT promo) (2021), Jan Erichsen © the artist

Are digital artists waiting for the NFT bubble to burst?

Most of the fuss about NFTs has focused on what, if anything, buyers are getting – but how do digital artists feel about minting their art?

23 Apr 2021
Supra man: a detail of one of Niko Pirosmani’s feast scenes, included in an exhibition at the Albertina, Vienna in 2018–19.

The jobbing artist who became Georgia’s national painter – thanks to his eye for a feast

Niko Pirosmani’s paintings are a testament to Georgian conviviality – although he didn’t always have a place at the table

19 Apr 2021
Left: ‘Black Mask’, vol. 12, no. 1, September 1929, contains the first part (of five) of ‘The Maltese Falcon’ by Dashiell Hammett; right: ‘Harper’s Bazaar’, vol. 77, no. 3, March 1943, featuring Lauren Bacall on the cover.

The magazines that made America

The pages of US periodicals trumpet a country making it up as it went along, covering everything from prohibition to pulp fiction

15 Apr 2021
Urban development: on site at the newly discovered ancient Egyptian city known as the Rise of Aten (photo: April 2021).

What did city living look like in ancient Egypt?

The discovery of a 3,000-year old city at the West Bank of Luxor creates a more nuanced picture of ancient Egyptian life

15 Apr 2021