Reviews

Precarity (2017) (still), John Akomfrah, Courtesy Lisson Gallery; © Smoking Dogs Films

A haunting resurrection of the man who invented jazz

New Orleans bandleader Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden cuts an enigmatic figure in John Akomfrah’s elegiac film

16 Jul 2019
Elements, Ignis’ (c. 1575/80), Joris Hoefnagel. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Meet the beetles! The insect drawings of Joris Hoefnagel

The Dutch polymath’s lifelike drawings are masterpieces of wit and invention

15 Jul 2019
The fetus in the womb (detail; c. 1511), Leonardo da Vinci.

‘Rich insights into a restless mind’ – Leonardo’s drawings at the Queen’s Gallery

Leonardo’s art may be universal, but his notes and sketches also reveal a man firmly rooted in his age

12 Jul 2019
GRIMA – Self with Cat (The Scream) (1986), Annegret Soltau.

From Dickens to Dada – a marvellous mishmash of collage across time

The first show ever to focus on the art of cutting and pasting offers an impressively expansive view of the practice

11 Jul 2019
Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, 1785, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met’s French masterpieces now have the catalogue they deserve

Katharine Baetjer’s catalogue is a focused account of the museum’s 18th-century French paintings

11 Jul 2019
Map of the world from 'The Book of Curiosities' (MS Arab c. 90), copy from c. 1200, Egypt, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

What the world looked like to a mapmaker in medieval Cairo

The discovery of an important manuscript reshapes our understanding of early Islamic culture

10 Jul 2019
A Seated, Elegantly Dressed Lady Eating from a Plate (1878), Adolph Menzel, courtesy Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

Scene stealers – the candid sketches of Adolph Menzel

The virtuoso draughtsman carried several sketchbooks at all times and liked to draw standing up

9 Jul 2019
Speed (1922), Claude Flight.

Lino sheets and London streets – the pioneers of modern British printmaking

For a brief period between the wars, the Grosvenor School in Pimlico was the site of a printmaking revolution

8 Jul 2019
Self-portrait with Brush (detail; 2010–13), Maria Lassnig.

Selfie shtick – the many faces of Maria Lassnig

The Austrian painter dedicated her career to translating bodily sensations into visual form – often through self-portraits

5 Jul 2019
Ethel Mairet's workgirls and apprentices at her ‘Gospels’ workshop, Ditchling, in the 1930s.

Handy work – the business of craft in interwar Britain

An exhibition at the Ditchling Museum explores the interwoven lives and pioneering work of designer-artisans in Sussex and beyond

5 Jul 2019
Lapidary and ‘figured’ stones, corals, fossils, semi-precious stones and minerals (c. 1630–40), Vincenzo Leonardi

Pelicans, fossils and fingered lemons – recreating the paper museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo

An exhibition of drawings from the 17th-century collection makes the case for a visual approach to learning – whether in science, history or art

4 Jul 2019
The Storm (1906), Emil Nolde.

Shattered hopes and a descent into hell – German Expressionist prints in Glasgow

A remarkable collection of prints anticipate and address Germany’s turmoil after the First World War

3 Jul 2019
Trilogy (Part One), Woman in Blue; Trilogy (Part Two) Woman in Black; Trilogy (Part Three) Woman in Red (1982–86), Claudette Johnson. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © Claudette Johnson

Claudette Johnson’s body of work feels as necessary as ever

The artist’s depictions of black women and their experience are on show at Modern Art Oxford

28 Jun 2019
Triptych of the Virgin of Montserrat (detail; c. 1470–75), Bartolomé Bermejo.

An itinerant Iberian master – Bartolomé Bermejo at the National Gallery, reviewed

A small but dazzling display offers viewers in the UK a rare glimpse of a painter who fused Spanish and Flemish influences

25 Jun 2019

Putting Renaissance paintings in their place

A new study of framing devices is illuminating, but devotes surprisingly little space to actual picture frames

21 Jun 2019
(1928), Lotte Laserstein. Private collection. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Is it time to take Lotte Laserstein at face value?

The painter’s portraits may not be as ambiguous as this show in Berlin seems to suggest

20 Jun 2019
The Russian Constitution. 1905 (late 1905), unknown artist, no publication details. The words on the flag read ‘Liberty or Death’. collection of Tobie Mathew

The postcards that paved the way for the Russian Revolution

Anti-tsarist postcards were an important, and often beautiful, form of radical propaganda in Imperial Russia

18 Jun 2019
Daniel in the Lions’ Den (c. 1614–16), Peter Paul Rubens. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

How Rubens made a booming business of his art

Diplomat, entrepreneur, painter – from an early age Rubens knew what it took to achieve success

14 Jun 2019
Interior. Strandgade 30 (1901), Vilhelm Hammershøi.

Shades of grey – the austere artistry of Vilhelm Hammershøi

The Danish painter scorned the fussy fashions of the bourgeoisie, taking a more spartan approach – at home and in his art

12 Jun 2019
Relief with three Palmyrene gods (1st century), Bir Wereb, near Palmyra. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

A journey through the melting pots of the ancient Middle East

The Met shows how much cities between Rome and Parthia had in common – and how devastating recent archaeological losses are

10 Jun 2019
Luchita Hurtado (b. 1920) photographed in 2019.

A world of her own – the paintings of Luchita Hurtado

The 98-year-old artist makes her debut in the UK with a thrilling exhibition of work from throughout her career

6 Jun 2019
Metropolis (1949), Tezuka Osamu.

Lost without words – Manga at the British Museum, reviewed

Despite its international popularity, the Japanese art form cannot be understood through images alone

4 Jun 2019

Harry Clarke’s uncanny visions of Ireland

The illustrator and designer of stained glass fused Irish and European traditions to create an intriguing new idiom

29 May 2019
Prisoners Exercising (1890), Vincent van Gogh.

How Victorian London inspired Vincent Van Gogh

The Tate explores how the painter’s eyes were opened to new influences during his time in the city

26 May 2019