Reviews

Cover 'The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth' by William Feaver

The great dictator – William Feaver’s biography of Lucian Freud, reviewed

The painter exerts the force of his personality from beyond the grave in the first part of this unconventional biography

6 Feb 2020
Mary Beard at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.

Naked positions – Mary Beard’s Shock of the Nude, reviewed

The BBC programme takes a playful look at changing attitudes to nudity in art – from Michelangelo’s David to modern life drawing

5 Feb 2020
No. 521 from Leben? oder Theater?, (1941–42), Charlotte Salomon. Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam.

How Charlotte Salomon turned her dark family history into a masterpiece of 20th-century art

‘Leben? oder Theater?’ is a totally unique work of art, produced in extreme circumstances

4 Feb 2020
I Am Still Learning (detail; 1824–28), Francisco de Goya. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

‘For Goya, the normal, the terrible, and the fantastical existed cheek by jowl’

A gathering of some 300 drawings at the Prado is a comprehensive guide to life in the artist’s cruel and chaotic world

1 Feb 2020
Tricolour Wings (1932; detail), Tullio Crali

Tullio Crali’s flights into the future

The Estorick Collection presents a rare exhibition of works by the Italian painter with a passion for planes

31 Jan 2020
Patrons and Lovers of Art (1826/30), Pieter Christoffel Wonder

The private collection that paved the way for the National Gallery

The Marquess of Stafford’s noble endeavour gave the public a taste of what a national collection might look like

29 Jan 2020
Maids of Honour (detail; c. 1890s), designed and worked by May Morris.

May Morris was a master of many crafts, but it’s her embroideries that steal the show at Dovecot Studios

The designer was born into the Arts and Crafts movement, but her achievements speak for themselves

28 Jan 2020
The Musician (detail; c. 1483–90), Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo at the Louvre is full of wonders – and a few surprises

While the paintings are astonishing, the notebooks and sketches really draw you in

27 Jan 2020
The Gamble Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The ace caff that now leaves a bad taste – at the V&A Café

Henry Cole had the art of the museum cafe down to a tee. Oh for his veal cutlets!

27 Jan 2020
Self-Portrait (2005), Nam June Paik.

Television licence – how Nam June Paik turned cathode-ray tubes into art

Tate Modern’s show of the artist’s experiments with technology suggests that TV was his favourite medium

22 Jan 2020
Six Recruits, (1815–16), attributed to the family of Ghulam Ali Khan, India, Haryana. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Society painters – the Indian artists who worked for the East India Company

The Wallace Collection’s exhibition is very welcome, but could tell us more about the two-way traffic between Indian and Western artists

20 Jan 2020
Sir Joseph Whitworth (detail; before 1908), Thomas Benjamin Kennington. The Whitworth, University of Manchester

The Whitworth Art Gallery’s 130-year mission to make itself useful

Founded in memory of the engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth, the museum has always supported the marriage of art and industry

16 Jan 2020
Silver cup showing Priam supplicating Achilles, Roman, 1st century. National Museum of Denmark. Photo: Roberta Fortuna and Kira Ursem; © National Museet Denmark Photo: Roberta Fortuna and Kira Ursem; © National Museet Denmark

Priam suspect – myths about ancient Troy collide with reality at the British Museum

The myth of the ancient city has fascinated artists through the ages – and invited archaeologists to dig deeper into the legend

15 Jan 2020
Hochwasser (2006), Norbert Schwontkowski.

Feast of burden – the uneasy paintings of Norbert Schwontkowski

The artist’s murkily atmospheric works convey a deep sense of anxiety with a wry touch

14 Jan 2020
Mound Two at Sutton Hoo.

What’s new at Sutton Hoo?

The archaeological site’s redeveloped exhibition spaces aim to offer a window on to the early Anglo-Saxon world

13 Jan 2020
View of the garden of the Fondation Carter – Theatrum Botanicum by Lothar Baumgarten. Photo: Luc Boegly

The art galleries branching out – with shows about trees

At the Fondation Cartier and soon at the Hayward Gallery, art really does grow on trees

8 Jan 2020
The Pazzi Conspiracy (Lorenzo de’ Medici) (1478), Bertoldo di Giovanni (obverse on left from Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Glorence; reverse on right, promised gift to the Frick Collection, New York)

The sculptor who found favour with Lorenzo de’ Medici – Bertoldo di Giovanni at the Frick, reviewed

He is best known as the pupil of Donatello and teacher of Michelangelo, but the Florentine sculptor has more than enough accomplishments of his own

4 Jan 2020
Horse Devoured by a Lion (exhibited 1763), George Stubbs. Tate, London

Animal instinct – George Stubbs at MK Gallery, reviewed

The painter’s forensic study of his subjects allowed him to portray them with a startling emotional depth

3 Jan 2020
Installation view of Rainforest V (variation I) (1973–2015) by David Tudor in the Marie-Josée and Harry Kravis Studio, a new space for performance, sound and moving-image work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Has MoMA brought modernism up to date?

Man (as represented by white men) is no longer the measure of all things at the headquarters of modern art

23 Dec 2019
Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (1573–1624) (detail; c. 1593–97), unknown artist.

Reign makers – Roy Strong’s guide to Elizabethan portraits, reviewed

This authoritative survey gives some of the most familiar works of English art a new lease of life

16 Dec 2019
Demi-lune sideboard (c. 1902–05), Ernest Gimson. Marchmont House, Duns.

Practical magic – the Arts and Crafts designs of Ernest Gimson

A new biography shows how thoroughly the designer’s life and work were intertwined

14 Dec 2019
George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, a detail of the Sunday page from 6 March 1938

George Herriman’s Krazy Kat – revisiting an abstruse but charming comic strip

The story of a simple-minded cat and his animal neighbours was never widely popular – but it counted E.E. Cummings and De Kooning among its fans

11 Dec 2019
Woman with a Child in a Pantry (detail; c. 1656–60), Pieter de Hooch. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

A Delft touch – the intricate patterns of Pieter de Hooch

The Dutch painter’s courtyard and interior scenes reveal his fascination with frames, grids and lines

10 Dec 2019

Mane attraction – the star quality of Susan Sontag

For all her flaws – and love of the limelight – Sontag’s commitment to seriousness feels more necessary than ever

4 Dec 2019