Triptych 1986-7 (detail)

Is Francis Bacon really the greatest painter of the 20th century?

As a triptych comes to auction, Rakewell wonders if we have finally found an artist whose talent is unquestionable

13 Feb 2022
Gwyneth Paltrow in 2020.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s inspiration

Rakewell revels in the latest interiors shoot of the actor’s house, but is there an ugly truth behind the beautiful surface?

6 Feb 2022
Left: Blue Rinse, as sported by Mollie Sugden in ‘Are You Being Served?’ Right: Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022

Oh Pantone, why so blue?

Rakewell wonders whether Pantone’s ’Color of the Year 2022’ might not belong more comfortably to an earlier era

28 Jan 2022
Meat Loaf in Hong Kong, promoting his album ‘Bat Out of Hell III-The Monster Is Loose’ in 2006.

A total artist – in memoriam Meat Loaf

Rakewell pays tribute to the late, great Marvin Lee Aday, who combined art forms with an originality matched only by Richard Wagner

21 Jan 2022
Up to the Gill – an activist with a hammer scales the BBC’s Broadcasting House. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Art attack – when vandals strike

After the hammer attack on Eric Gill’s statue of ‘Prospero and Ariel’, Rakewell reflects upon other artworks that have seized the imagination of vandals

16 Jan 2022
Marlon Brando as Napoleon Bonaparte.

Hollywood’s Waterloo – the art of playing Napoleon

Ridley Scott is pressing ahead with his biopic about Bonaparte – but Rakewell has a modest proposal regarding the leading man

9 Jan 2022
Le Défenseur (Counsel for the Defense) (c. 1862/65), Honoré Daumier.

Drawn with conviction – a brief history of courtroom art

Like many of the most notorious trials of modern times, Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial has been summed up by a skilful courtroom sketch artist

18 Dec 2021
Ghost of Christmas parties past – Mr Fezziwig's Ball by John Leech, from Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' (1843).

The art of Christmas parties

The Dickensian illustrator John Leech would have been the ideal artist to capture the spirit of Downing Street festivities – fictional or otherwise

10 Dec 2021
A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte

What Stephen Sondheim saw in Georges Seurat

The pointillist painter inspired the composer and lyricist to make his most personal artistic statement

5 Dec 2021
Claudia Roth at the Deutscher Hoerfilmpreis, Berlin, in 2019.

The culture ministers who really are culture vultures

Delighted by the fact that the new German culture minister once managed a rock band, Rakewell recalls other culture ministers with an artistic bent

28 Nov 2021
Gal Gadot’s art thief eyes up one of ‘Cleopatra’s eggs’ in 'Red Notice'.

Gal Gadot turns to art crime, with The Rock in hot pursuit

’Red Notice’ may not be most sophisticated heist film, but it’s hard to resist The Rock on the trail of Wonder Woman

21 Nov 2021

Todd Haynes takes on the Velvet Underground – but could he have gone even further?

Rakewell couldn’t be happier about the film-maker’s documentary about the band – but does have a suggestion for a sequel

14 Nov 2021
Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Contemporary art has a new home – at the Vatican

Pope Francis seems to be a fan of contemporary art – and he’s hardly the first pontiff to have encouraged the latest artistic developments

5 Nov 2021
The Laughing Cavalier (detail; 1623), Frans Hals.

A hairy situation at the Wallace Collection

The moustachioed can get into the Wallace Collection’s Frans Hals exhibition for free on Mondays – but Rakewell has a much better idea

29 Oct 2021
Alan Titchmarsh. Courtesy Garden Museum

Alan Titchmarsh, Renaissance man

Rakewell is delighted to learn that the superstar TV gardener is also something of an art aficionado

22 Oct 2021
Egon Schiele’s Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait) (1910), from the collection of the Leopold Museum, Vienna, stars in the Vienna Tourism Board’s outré campaign

Vienna flaunts its assets on OnlyFans

Nudes by Titian, Rubens and Schiele are now available to viewers on the adults-only subscription service

15 Oct 2021
Courtesy Netflix

Why Squid Game looks so strangely familiar

The hit series takes many of its visual cues from M.C. Escher – and a host of other films that have been inspired by the Dutch artist

10 Oct 2021
Shoes (1886), Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Sole survivors – how to draw your way out of heartbreak

Some unusual relationship advice has recently caught Rakewell’s eye. Next time you’re nursing a broken heart, why not try drawing your shoe?

28 Sep 2021
Model citizen: Miriam Margolyes at the UK premiere of ‘The Carer’ on 5 August, 2016.

When Miriam Margolyes met Augustus John

The actor offered her services as a life model to the painter when she was 19. One can only wonder that she got away so lightly

24 Sep 2021
Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, in a publicity still for ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (1941).

The mystery of the real-life Maltese Falcon

The film noir starring Humphrey Bogart is back in cinemas – but the confusion over what happened to the statuettes of the falcon remains to be cleared up

19 Sep 2021
Ponying up at the National Gallery.

My Little Pony rides again – at the National Gallery

Masterpieces of equestrian art are about to get some rainbow-coloured companions, thanks to an augmented-reality makeover

12 Sep 2021
I Love You a Latte (2021), Jemima Sara

The artists who have turned to coffee for their creative fuel

Making coffee might be considered an art form – but don’t forget the artistic possibilities offered by the substance itself

3 Sep 2021
Jay-Z and Beyoncé pose with Basquiat’s ‘Equals Pi’ (1982) in Tiffany’s ‘About Love’ campaign.

The shady affair of the Tiffany-blue Basquiat

Now that the jeweller has found a painting in just the right shade of its corporate colours, can other brands be far behind?

28 Aug 2021

Clueless in Crete – Dominic Raab holidays while Kabul falls

We don’t know if the foreign secretary made it to the Palace of Knossos, but his career may soon be ancient history

20 Aug 2021