Reviews

16th/17th century Qu'ran

Shining matters – ‘Gold’ at the British Library, reviewed

A glittering array of objects and manuscripts from around the world shows off the astonishing diversity of the permanent collection

27 Jun 2022
Drawing of the stern of the Royal Louis (c. 1680), studio of Charles Le Brun. École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Chains of command – ‘The Sun King at Sea’, reviewed

A groundbreaking study looks at the slave labour on which France’s maritime ambitions depended

27 Jun 2022
Self-portrait (detail) by Van Leo, taken in Cairo in January 1945.

The photographer who created Cairo in his own image

Van Leo’s portraits capture a lost world and are in a class of their own, writes Raphael Cormack

27 Jun 2022
Trente-cinq têtes d’expression by Louis-Léopold Boilly

Pulling faces – the art of showing emotion

An exhibition at the Musée Marmottan Monet considers how artists have tried to represent feeling through the centuries

27 Jun 2022
(1951), Afro Basaldella. Private collection

The Italian painter who expressed himself in America

For all his care to balance the traditions of his Venetian forebears with the style of his US contemporaries, Afro Basaldella came to be seen as an Abstract Expressionist

27 Jun 2022
Self-Portrait at EPA

The photographer who hated office life

Chauncey Hare was compared to Walker Evans and Diane Arbus, but he came to find the art world as repressive as the corporate world he loathed

26 Jun 2022
Iceberg Collage (1994), James Morrison

James Morrison’s paintings take us on a journey into the unknown

The artist refused to paint people, preferring instead to focus on remote landscapes and natural phenomena

20 Jun 2022
Méditerranée by Aristide Maillol

The pared-down poses of Aristide Maillol

The Musée d’Orsay’s survey of the French sculptor is admirably thorough, but his art was more modern than we’re often led to believe

20 Jun 2022
Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria (1662 -1726) (detail; 1725), Charles Claude Dubut.

Why did European nobles go all gooey for waxworks?

They’re now little more than popular amusements – but with their discomfiting realism, wax effigies were once considered fit for royalty

15 Jun 2022
Kali Murti (detail; 2022), Kaushik Ghosh. Photo: © The Trustees of the British Museum

How do women really wield power?

In attempting to give an account of ‘feminine power’ through the ages, the British Museum raises far more questions than it answers

10 Jun 2022
Installation view of Pelé’s shirt from the 1958 FIFA World Cup.

The Design Museum proves that football really is the beautiful game

The subject of football and all its attendant paraphernalia makes for a surprisingly joyful exhibition

8 Jun 2022
Island (2022), Cornelia Parker. Installation view at Tate Britain, London, in 2022. Courtesy Tate. Photo: Oli Cowling

‘Littered with stumbling blocks’ – Cornelia Parker at Tate Britain, reviewed

The British artist’s retrospective might appear visually weighty, but the work pays little attention to the history and politics of the materials used

Speed freak – ‘Raphael’ at the National Gallery, reviewed

The artist’s true genius lay in the superhuman pace with which he mastered new styles

30 May 2022
Detail of an advertisement for the Nouvelles Cartes de la République Française

Survivors’ gilt – the luxury craftsmen who flourished after the French Revolution

Iris Moon’s account of how masters of the decorative arts adapted to turbulent times is a suitably unsettling affair

30 May 2022
Colosseum, Rome (c. 1855), James Anderson.

The British photographers who took their visual cues from the Grand Tour

Victorian photographers in Italy were inevitably influenced by forms of landscape painting made popular in the preceding century

30 May 2022

Eternal fame – the world of the Kushite pharaohs

The Louvre’s latest exhibition has revived the vast ancient empire that once united Sudan and Egypt

30 May 2022
The Gulf Stream (detail; 1899), Winslow Homer.

‘This is a new Winslow Homer for our time’

The Met’s new survey reveals a more dramatic, more political side to the American painter

30 May 2022
Cicely Hey (detail; 1923), Walter Sickert. The Whitworth, University of Manchester

Acting out with Walter Sickert

A triumphant survey at Tate Britain – the largest in 30 years – revels in the British artist’s painterly games

30 May 2022
St Bride’s Church in East Kilbride, designed by Andy MacMillan and Isi Metstein for Gillespie Kidd & Coia and completed in 1964.

In defence of the modern buildings of Britain

Some of Britain’s finest examples of modern architecture may be under threat, but in Owen Hatherley they have a fierce champion

30 May 2022

The Scottish artist who liked to be beside the seaside

The seaside scenes of Willie Rodger aren’t necessarily a sunny affair, but they are always full of life

20 May 2022

‘An elegy to a disappearing planet’ – Katie Paterson in Edinburgh, reviewed

Over the course of an almost a decade, the Scottish artist has gathered and crushed ancient geological specimens to create a work of real conceptual power

5 May 2022

‘A curatorial masterclass’ – the 59th Venice Biennale, reviewed

Cecilia Alemani’s focus on women artists goes beyond tokenism to present a strong statement about both contemporary art and the world we live in

29 Apr 2022
View of the Colosseum (c. 1550), by Hieronymus Cock, after the circle of Domenico Ghirlandaio. Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

The Soane Museum provides a masterclass in the art of architectural drawing

Frances Sands’ selection from one of the world’s greatest collections of architectural drawings will delight both experts and the general reader alike

28 Apr 2022

The fine lines of Franz Kafka

The writer’s drawings are every bit as fastidious as his sentences – and full of the same preoccupations