Reviews

Marie-Caroline, Duchesse de Berry sailing to exile in Scotland (c. 1830), unknown artist. Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Bordeaux.

The Romantics who revolutionised how we think about the past

Rosemary Hill’s nimble survey shows how 19th-century antiquarians paved the way for modern historians

21 Sep 2021
The Frogs who ask for a King (1884; detail), Gustave Moreau.

Sting in the tale – how Gustave Moreau added bite to La Fontaine’s fables

Rarely exhibited since their creation, the intense, jewel-like watercolours of the French symbolist make for exhilarating viewing

17 Sep 2021
The Captain and The Mate (2017–18), Lubaina Himid.

The British painting scene is a free-for-all these days – and that’s no bad thing

The Hayward’s survey of contemporary painting proves that the medium is thriving – with the figurative artists perhaps edging that little bit ahead

17 Sep 2021
Cosimo I de’ Medici

Hazardous dukes – Medici portraits at the Met, reviewed

An entrancing exhibition shows how Cosimo I de’ Medici harnessed art to consolidate his family’s grip on power

10 Sep 2021
Jeff Koons’ ‘Bouquet of Tulips’ displayed next to the Grand Palais in Paris in 2019.

What we say when we say it with flowers

Artists and writers have always been fascinated by flowers – and we all like receiving them – but some floral arrangements are more sinister than others

7 Sep 2021
Installation view of ‘Drinking with the Gods’, Cité du Vin, Bordeaux, 2021.

Drinking wine in ancient Greece was a divine but demanding business

The gods were great sticklers for ceremony and frowned on oenophiles who didn’t observe the rules

3 Sep 2021
Richard Chopping’s covers for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) and Goldfinger (1959) by Ian Fleming.

Dust jackets and dinner jackets – the man who illustrated Bond

Richard Chopping’s striking designs for Ian Fleming’s novels add greatly to the books’ allure for collectors – but his artistic talent went far beyond Bond

31 Aug 2021
Installation view, ‘Balls’, OOF Gallery, London, 2021.

Eyes on the ball – the new art gallery at the Spurs stadium is an unexpected winner

Exit through the gift shop at Tottenham Hotspur and you’ll find a gallery full of art inspired by the beautiful game

26 Aug 2021
Interior with Woman at a Virginal

Do paintings have minds of their own?

Not all works of art need be interpreted – some simply demand that we spend some quality time with them

25 Aug 2021
View Near Norwich with Harvesters (detail; 1810–21), John Crome.

John Crome is forgotten today – but he once ranked alongside Constable and Turner

John Crome was among the greatest English landscape painters of his day – but you’ve probably never heard of him

18 Aug 2021
The Fall of Phaeton Peter Paul Rubens. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The flamboyant painters who made a spectacle of themselves

Nicola Suthor’s study of the self-confident style known as ‘bravura’ is something of a virtuoso affair

17 Aug 2021
Circus Matinee (1938), Laura Knight.

It’s time Laura Knight was rescued from the ranks of the middlebrow

The British artist rejected modernism, but in life as in art she was hardly conservative

4 Aug 2021
W. W. Fowler, The Coleoptera of the British Islands, Vol. 5, 1891. China Blue is visible on the bottom left.

This colour chart of nature is completely mad – and utterly beguiling

An Enlightenment project to classify all the colours in the natural world is an extraordinary feat of ingenuity

3 Aug 2021
Statue of the nymph Amalthea and the goat that fed Jupiter, commissioned from Pierre Julien in 1787, inside the Queen’s Dairy at Rambouillet.

Grotto fabulous – Marie Antoinette’s decorative dairy was no rustic retreat

The dairy at Rambouillet was a masterpiece of neoclassical design

31 Jul 2021
Circular Colonnaded Atrium (c. 1730), attributed to Giuseppe Galli Bibiena. Promised gift of Jules Fisher to the Morgan Library & Museum, New York

The Italian dynasty that kept all of Europe thoroughly entertained

For more than a century, the Bibiena family created spectacular sets that delighted and deceived audiences

29 Jul 2021
Woman working in an office in the United States, c. 1921.

Keys to success: how typewriters transformed the world of work

Typewriters may be museum pieces now, but they created office jobs for women and by doing so changed the 20th century

28 Jul 2021
Niki de Saint-Phalle taking aim at her Feu à Volonté at Galerie J in Paris, in 1961.

At the Fondazione Prada, painting refuses to play dead

Peter Fischli has curated a show about the demise of painting – but his take is that it’s still very much alive

27 Jul 2021
The Hon. Mrs Mary Graham (detail; 1775–77), Thomas Gainsborough.

Capital gains: how Gainsborough took London by storm

When the painter finally moved to the capital, he was quick to make the most of the opportunities on offer

22 Jul 2021
‘See London By Bus’ (1963) for London Transport and ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ (1963) for the Central Office of Information.

The man who designed modern Britain

Tom Eckersley’s posters are rightfully regarded as masterpieces – partly because he worked with clients who were also first-rate

16 Jul 2021
An Autumn Landscape with a View of Het Steen in the Early Morning

The late, great landscapes of Rubens, reunited at last

A pair of monumental landscapes painted in his later years offer an unusually personal glimpse of the artist himself

16 Jul 2021
Photograph of Eileen Agar wearing her Ceremonial Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse

For Eileen Agar, the natural world was a playground of artistic possibilities

The British artist looked to nature to provide material for her surreal creations

13 Jul 2021
Still from ‘Traité de bave et d’éternité’ (On Venom and Eternity; 1951), featuring Isidore Isou.

The second coming of Isidore Isou

The founder of Lettrism wasn’t the only avant-garde artist with a god complex, but he may have been the most messianic

12 Jul 2021
Qajar #19 (1998), Shadi Ghadirian.

Cultural evolution – ‘Epic Iran’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, reviewed

A whirlwind journey through 5,000 years of Iranian civilisation charts change and continuity in a culture that has absorbed all manner of influences

8 Jul 2021
Detail of plaque (c. 16th–17th century), Benin City.

Returns policy – The Brutish Museums by Dan Hicks, reviewed

Is it enough for Western museums to say how they came by their colonial-era artefacts – or should they just give them back?

6 Jul 2021