Reviews

Leonardo, leading man: Adrian Turner as Leonardo da Vinci (centre), with Matilda De Angelis as Caterina da Cremona (left) and Freddie Highmore as Stefano Giraldi (right)

‘Leonardo’ is clunky and condescending – so it’s bingeable Renaissance schlock, basically

The Amazon series limps through its art history but is just about salvaged by its endearingly goofy hero

4 May 2021
Four panels of Fragonard’s series The Progress of Love on the fourth floor of the Frick Madison.

The Frick Collection makes a move into modernism

The Breuer Building makes a minimalist foil for the Frick’s permanent collection – but Eve M. Kahn is rather glad the move is only temporary

27 Apr 2021
Detail from one of John Hassall’s advertisements for Colman’s of Norwich from 1898–89.

The dashing Edwardian poster designer who really cut the mustard

In his heyday John Hassall was known as ‘the Poster King’ and his eyecatching ads could be seen on hoardings all over Britain

26 Apr 2021
Installation view of ‘Painting & Sculpture of a Decade 54–64’, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson at the Tate Gallery, London, 1964.

In post-war Europe, museums dared to experiment with how they displayed art

Post-war museum design had a political impetus that was public-spirited in nature – even if that meant displaying sculptures on a bed of coal

22 Apr 2021
Self-portrait with Two Pupils (detail; 1785), Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

Entente cordiale: the pally portraitists of 18th-century France

Portraits were used to further friendships – and as networking opportunities – in Enlightenment France

16 Apr 2021
Basque in glory: the Guggenheim Bilbao photographed in 2020.

The notional gallery? How art museums turned into public palaces

Two new books offer complementary perspectives – the macro and the micro – on the modern museum

9 Apr 2021
Fred Stewart II and Tyler Collins from the series The Birmingham Project (2012), Dawoud Bey. Courtesy Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA and Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey

America the grave – ‘Grief and Grievance’ at the New Museum, reviewed

An exhibition examining Black experience in America is powerful if piecemeal – and is necessarily exhausting

8 Apr 2021
Who’s been framed? The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in the aftermath of the heist in 1990.

Raiders of the lost art – the Gardner heist gets the Netflix treatment

The Gardner Museum heist hasn’t been solved in 30 years – and it’s perfect fodder for a true crime documentary

5 Apr 2021
Work on the wild side – James Morrison painting in Scotland. Photo: Estate of James Morrison

Hardy boy: the wild landscapes of James Morrison, from Angus to the Arctic

As a new documentary reveals, the Scottish painter braved wind, rain and Arctic ice in search of his ‘rough truth’

31 Mar 2021

Fossil hunting and forbidden love – ‘Ammonite’ reviewed

Francis Lee’s film plays fast and loose with Mary Anning’s life – but at least it digs the great geologist out of historical obscurity

31 Mar 2021

The stonecutter who gave life to letters

Ralph Beyer’s idiosyncratic letter-cutting isn’t to everyone’s taste but there’s no denying its power

26 Mar 2021
The Mood of Kota Palace (detail), (c. 1700), unknown artist, Udaipur. National

The court painters who magnified the princely pleasures of a Rajput dynasty

Paintings from the north-west Indian city of Udaipur present life at court as a royal playground

25 Mar 2021

Art is all about human touch – and right now that’s more disturbing than it sounds

With human contact all but banned, an exhibition about touch was always going to provoke mixed feelings

18 Mar 2021
Stealing beauty: a scene from ‘The Grande Odalisque’.

The Grande Odalisque – a graphic novel that flunks its art heists

A new graphic novel offers a fresh take on the museum heist genre – if you can bear its regressive sexual politics, that is

16 Mar 2021
Playing false: Glafira Rosales, in a still from ‘Made You Look’.

Made You Look – a true crime doc that should terrify art collectors

The knavery and folly of the rarefied art world are writ large in a documentary that picks over the Knoedler forgery scandal

16 Mar 2021
Left: Addie Card, 12 Years Old, Spinner in cotton mill, North Pownal, Vermont (1910), Lewis Hine. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Right: Digital colourisation of Lewis Hine’s photograph of Addie Card by Marina Amaral. Photo: © Marina Amaral

Does the past look better in black and white?

Photographers and film-makers have long added colour to their images – but does the current craze for colourisation create a false impression of olden times?

11 Mar 2021
Detail from maquette for We Are Building (Stroim) (1928), Valentina Kulagina. Museum of Modern Art, New York

The avant-garde artists who sold a vision of the future

A display of interwar posters is a reminder of that utopian moment when artists believed they could invent a new world

10 Mar 2021
Installation view of Gallery 616, ‘Paris in the Early Eighteenth Century’, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Met’s Old Masters, seen in a new light

European paintings still occupy prime real estate on Fifth Avenue – but a redisplay offers fresh insight into the Met’s hallowed holdings

3 Mar 2021
Wall panel in opus sectile (c. 394), from a Roman house outside the Porta Marina, Ostia. Museo dell’Alto Medioevo, Rome

Vein glorious: an epic history of marble, reviewed

For millennia, marble was taken to be a gleaming reflection of the heavens – and, in Fabio Barry’s new book, it regains its divine mysteries

20 Feb 2021
Salesmen from the porcelain manufactory Bareuther & Co. at the Leipzig fair, 1920s. Photo: Georg Pahl/Bundesarchiv, Bild 102–13204

Of Meissen men – the brittle business of porcelain

An ambitious new book scrutinises the production of ‘white gold’ in Europe – from its early alchemical mysteries to your everyday crockery

Aby Warburg (centre), with his assistants Gertrud Bing and Franz Alber, at the Palace Hotel, Rome, 1929.

With his cryptic clusters of images, Aby Warburg remapped the art of the past

Warburg brought together Greek gods and golfers, antiquities and airships – and in reconstruction, his puzzling arrangements of images are as suggestive as ever

13 Feb 2021
Saturn (1820–23), Francisco de Goya. Museo del Prado, Madrid

Are Goya’s Black Paintings really the work of a madman?

A new biography of Goya puts paid to the romantic fiction that the Spanish master ended his days isolated and insane

12 Feb 2021
Horns of plenty – statue of a resting goat, late 1st century AD (body); head attributed to Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680). Torlonia Collection, Rome

A famously private Roman collection finally gets a public outing

The Torlonia marbles make for the greatest private collection of Roman antiquities in existence – and they’re finally on view to the public

5 Feb 2021
Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty in ‘The Dig’. Courtesy Larry Horricks/Netflix

The Dig is a film to treasure

Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan shine in the story of the Sutton Hoo discovery

2 Feb 2021