Reviews

Self-portrait (c. 1865), James Tissot. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

From the high life to the Life of Christ – James Tissot’s path to piety

On his 50th birthday the society painter set off for the Holy Land, experiencing something of a conversion

3 Dec 2019

Van Dyck, the artist’s artist

An exhibition in Munich explores the less familiar aspects of the portraitist’s work, including the support he gave to his peers

2 Dec 2019

Disciplinary action – ‘A History of Art History’ by Christopher S. Wood, reviewed

This wide-ranging and original study gives art historians much to think and argue about

30 Nov 2019
Susanna and the Elders (detail; 1866), Franz Xaver Winterhalter. Frye Art Museum, Seattle.

Women looking at men looking at them – at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle

Paintings from the museum’s founding collection show the unsettling ways in which men have often represented women

29 Nov 2019
Heartland (1985), Miriam Schapiro. Orlando Museum of Art.

Pattern and Decoration – the movement that made a leitmotif of light motif

Embracing polka dot, patchwork and plenty of colour, P&D artists set out to challenge the norms of good taste

28 Nov 2019
The Supper at Emmaus (detail; c. 1628), Rembrandt van Rijn.

How Rembrandt made great strides in his home town

Child prodigy he was not – but works from the painter’s youth in Leiden show that he soon made up for lost time

14 Nov 2019
Charlotte Perriand on the ‘chaise longue basculante, B306’ designed by Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier in c. 1928.

Style guide – how Charlotte Perriand designed the modern world

The multi-talented French architect and designer worked at the cutting edge of modernism

14 Nov 2019
Epigram of a globe showing the Americas, with vignettes of Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, from America, vol. IV.

American scheme – Theodore de Bry’s sensational approach to the New World

The engraver’s visions of a continent he never saw were designed to appeal to the European imagination

13 Nov 2019
Installation view of ‘Henrike Naumann: Das Reich’ at Belvedere 21, Vienna, 2019.

Fascism and furniture – the dystopian spaces of Henrike Naumann

Naumann’s new installation imagines an alternate past in which the German Reich was re-established after the fall of the Berlin Wall

11 Nov 2019
Stefan Adegbola as Poggio di Chiusi, Hiran Abeysekera as Leonardo da Vinci, and Dickie Beau as Sandro Botticelli in Botticelli in the Fire at Hampstead Theatre, London, 2019.

Friars and bonfires in Renaissance Florence – Botticelli in the Fire, reviewed

What prompted Botticelli to become a follower of Savonarola? Jordan Tannahill’s arresting play casts historical accuracy aside in the quest for answers

6 Nov 2019
Driving the World to Destruction (1983), from the Powerplay series (1983–87), Judy Chicago.

Paper work – the British Museum shows off its collection of contemporary drawings

A selection of studies and sketches shows how the definition of drawing has happily ballooned in recent decades

4 Nov 2019
Chansonette (1928), Erna Schmidt-Caroll.

Club scenes – the art of the cabaret at the Barbican

In cities across the world, the cultural avant-garde has often hunkered down – and expressed itself – in nightclubs and bars

1 Nov 2019
Self-portrait (detail; 1957), Victor Willing.

The visionary art of Victor Willing deserves to be better known

A substantial survey at Hastings Contemporary is a rare chance to encounter the British painter’s concise, enigmatic images

29 Oct 2019
Self-portrait (detail; c. 1666), Mary Beale.

In praise of Mary Beale – one of Britain’s first women artists

A biography of one of the country’s earliest professional woman painters is a fitting if belated tribute

28 Oct 2019
The Eavesdropper (detail; c. 1656), Nicolaes Maes. The Wellington Collection, Apsley House (English Heritage), London

Nicolaes Maes – the Dutch painter who made a virtue of versatility

This pupil of Rembrandt has often been mistaken for other artists, but is there an unity to be found in his many styles?

25 Oct 2019
Installation view of DC Semiramis (2019) by Tai Shani at the Turner Prize exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate. Photo: David Levene; © Tai Shani

The Turner Prize has more of a purpose than it has had in years

Tai Shani, Oscar Murillo, Helen Cammock and Lawrence Abu Hamdan can be found in playful, reflective or forensic mode in Margate

25 Oct 2019
Limestone statue of Mary Magdalen (detail) (c. 1313), from the collegiate church at Écouis (Eure). Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais/Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Art that speaks for itself? – ‘Gothic Sculpture’ by Paul Binski, reviewed

A thought-provoking study considers what makes medieval European sculpture so memorable

22 Oct 2019
The Gleaners (1857), Jean-François Millet. Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Peasant company – Jean-François Millet among the moderns

How the Barbizon painter’s subversive rural scenes inspired artists from Van Gogh to Salvador Dalí

21 Oct 2019
Photograph from 1904/06 of ‘Steamboat ladies’ – women students from Cambridge who were awarded degrees by Trinity College Dublin in the 1900s. Girton College, Cambridge

‘Frustrate the Feminine Fanatics’ – how women overcame their critics at Cambridge University

It is 150 years since women first arrived at Cambridge – and the fight for equality has taken almost as long

18 Oct 2019
Installation view of ‘Kate Crawford, Trevor Paglen: Training Humans’ at Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2019. Shown are images from the ImageNet training set.

Trevor Paglen trains his sights on the rise of machine vision

What are the implications of using object recognition technology to classify human faces and emotions?

17 Oct 2019
The embrace (2015–16), Marlene Dumas, in Venus & Adonis (2019; David Zwirner Books).

Venus enlargement? Marlene Dumas takes on Shakespeare’s erotic verse

The artist is one of few to have attempted to illustrate Venus and Adonis

16 Oct 2019
A five thousand year old laugh (2019), Mark Bradford.

Mark Bradford descends into the hell of modern America

A new series of sprawling canvases by the Los Angeles-based artist takes inspiration from Cerberus, the mythical hound of Hades

15 Oct 2019
OSPAAAL poster (detail; 1969), Alfredo Rostgaard.

Public relations – solidarity posters from Castro’s Cuba

The 1960s and ’70s were a golden age for Cuban artists who designed striking graphics for liberation movements across the world

15 Oct 2019
Photograph of the saleroom of the Continental Havana Company in Berlin, designed by Henry van de Velde in 1899, and published in Innen-Dekoration, October 1899.

From schools to cigar shops – the eclectic vision of Henry van de Velde

The Belgian painter-turned-designer was a prominent figure in the early history of modernism – although his precise role is not so easy to pin down

9 Oct 2019