Features

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

Acquisitions of the Month: November 2022

Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of a grumpy woman and an elaborate art nouveau tea set once owned by Karl Lagerfeld are among this month’s highlights

1 Dec 2022
Adoration of the Shepherds (detail; 1485), Domenico Ghirlandaio. Santa Trinità, Florence

Mother superior – a very proud Mary in Florence

Packed with nods to the patron for whom it was painted, the ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ is one of Domenico Ghirlandaio’s most appealing works

28 Nov 2022
The Sorceress Circe or Melissa by Dosso Dossi (c. 1518)

A mysterious Renaissance sorceress still casts her spell

The history of Dosso Dossi’s painting of the ‘sorceress’ – otherwise known as Melissa – reveals a bewitching tale of romance

28 Nov 2022
Gene Hackman in The Conversation

Surveillance tactics – the art of spying on screen

The Cinémathèque française’s unsettling show about film-making and espionage reveals how much the two activities have in common

28 Nov 2022
The Wine of Saint Martin’s Day

Mulling it over – how spiced wine became the festive drink of choice

Mulled wine may be the fuel for contemporary Christmas celebrations but drinking it is a tradition that dates back to antiquity

28 Nov 2022
Derek Jarman

How did British artists respond to the AIDS crisis?

While Britain was no less affected by the disease than the United States, the response of its gay artists at the start of the crisis was provocatively distinct

28 Nov 2022

An appetite for art – sampling the Tate’s Cézanne-inspired menu

A menu designed to accompany the gallery’s survey of the artist pays homage to the flavours of Provence, but doesn’t quite live up to the works on show

28 Nov 2022
The Three Witches or Weird Sisters

How Henry Fuseli turned poems into paintings

Few 18th-century painters were more enthusiastic about embracing English literature than the Swiss-born artist

28 Nov 2022
The Parrot Room at the Palazzo Davanzati.

The medieval Palazzo Davanzati in Florence is full of hidden wonders

Newly restored, this museum is both an architectural treasure and home to works by Masaccio’s unfairly overlooked younger brother

18 Nov 2022
Jardinière (c. 1730), China. Strawberry Hill House, London

Acquisitions of the Month: October 2022

This month’s highlights include the 18th-century Chinese jardinière that Horace Walpole famously used as a fish bowl

1 Nov 2022
Cup with dragon handles (12th–14th century) China. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Chasing the dragons – the art of ritual in ancient China

Curator Dany Chan takes a close look at an exquisite jade cup in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

31 Oct 2022
Shoji Hamada at work in 2008

How Shoji Hamada reinvented British ceramic traditions

The Japanese ceramicist infused his approach to pottery with British traditions from his travels in the 1920s, before bringing this new style back to his native country

24 Oct 2022
Hennessy Frank Gehry

How artistic collaborations made Hennessy collectable

The maison’s limited-edition bottles designed by contemporary artists, designers and architects have secured its place as leader in the luxury market

24 Oct 2022
Chinese imperial bowl,

Poetry in porcelain – a close look at a pair of bowls from the Qing dynasty

A delicately painted spring scene could suggest complex notions about beauty, hope and death

24 Oct 2022
Edward Allington

Surreal suppers – the Japanese art of artificial food

Shokuhin sampuru (food models) may serve the promotional function of luring diners into restaurants but the creation of each replica is a delicate craft

24 Oct 2022
The Peanuts gang, created by Charles M. Schulz.

How the Peanuts cartoons captured the soul of post-war America

On the centenary of Charles M. Schulz’s birth, the cartoonist’s greatest creation still sums up the hopes and fears of the nuclear age

24 Oct 2022
Roscoff (Finisterre): M. Masson and his team of fisherman prepare to go out to see

The Frenchman who wanted to photograph the world

In the early 20th century, Albert Kahn dispatched photographers to more than 50 countries – and the magical results can be found in the Paris museum that bears his name

24 Oct 2022
Miniature canopic coffin from the tomb of Tutankhamun

Grave matters – tussling over Tutankhamun

When the pharaoh’s tomb was discovered 100 years ago, the fate of its contents became a political minefield. Unpublished British papers reveal for the first time what was really at stake

24 Oct 2022
Rijksmuseum

How will European museums cope with the energy crisis this winter?

European countries have put short term regulations in place to help their museums conserve energy, but longer term strategies will be needed to secure their futures

13 Oct 2022
The Orange County Museum of Art

The real O.C. now has a museum that provides a world-class welcome

The new Orange County Museum of Art has a stellar collection from California and a glitzy exterior to match

7 Oct 2022
Master of the Krainburg Altar.

Acquisitions of the Month: September 2022

Two busts by the French sculptor Charles Cordier and a 15th-century triptych by the Master of the Krainburg Altar are among this month’s highlights

6 Oct 2022
Haroon Mirza

Scandinavia’s oldest biennial is a thoroughly monstrous affair

In its determination to keep things as local as possible the Lofoten International Art Festival doesn’t shy away from the dark corners of the region’s history

29 Sep 2022
The Baptism of Christ Poussin

Stripped back – how a figure freed up Poussin’s painting

A figure that appears in Poussin’s ‘The Baptism of Christ’ may reveal the artist’s (secret) influence

26 Sep 2022