Reviews

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
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
Inferno (XXVI–XXVIII) (1586–88), Federico Zuccari.

Dante has stumped many an artist – but these delicate drawings are truly divine

Federico Zuccari’s illustrations of the Divine Comedy have seldom been shown. But the Uffizi has put them online – and Dante’s poem has never looked better

1 Feb 2021
The anti-Bob Ross? John Lurie in Painting with John.

John Lurie’s grumpy painting is a joy to behold

The crotchety cult legend is giving art lessons on TV – and it’s all surprisingly charming

29 Jan 2021
Portrait of Senator Giovanni Morelli, 1886, Franz von Lenbach. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

The Italian statesman who redefined Renaissance art

Giovanni Morelli was a complex character, as attentive to the state of the Italian nation as he was to its art

28 Jan 2021
Modelling agency: Ray Harryhausen working on The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

The man who brought Hollywood’s fantasies to life

Without Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion models, science-fiction films wouldn’t look like they do today

27 Jan 2021

Fran Lebowitz loves New York more than you do

The city’s most devoted citizen explains urban life to Martin Scorsese

26 Jan 2021
Ralph Steadman goes gonzo? Photo: Rikard Österlund, www.rikard.co.uk

Ralph Steadman fully deserves his place in the history of art

In his skewering of authority figures, Ralph Steadman bears comparison with some of the great artists of modern times

25 Jan 2021
Untitled, New York, New York (1963), Gordon Parks.

Gordon Parks’s photographs bear powerful witness to Black lives in America

The photographer’s images of the struggle for civil rights are as relevant as when they were first made

22 Jan 2021

In 18th-century Europe, bizarre oranges and lemons were collector’s items

Weird and wonderful citrus fruit were once highly prized possessions – and one German fanatic made prints of the hundreds of varieties he laid his hands on

20 Jan 2021
Bank vault: mudlarker Jason Sandy on the foreshore of the River Thames.

The real secret London? It’s down in the river mud

The muddy foreshore of the Thames has been an unlikely treasure trove for amateur archaeologists

19 Jan 2021
Delftware plate (1661). The Bryan Collection, Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Period pieces – the fashion for putting dates on domestic objects

From commemorative wares to ordinary utensils, inscribing dates on household objects was once common practice

12 Jan 2021
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Breonna! Breonna!) (detail; 2020), Jennifer Packer. Private collection.

Jennifer Packer’s paintings pack a punch at the Serpentine

The artist’s powerful canvases are full of detail but never shy away from the bigger picture

11 Jan 2021