Art history

Alive with innovation: British art between the world wars

4 June 2022 9:00 am

When I mentioned the subject of this book to someone reasonably well-informed about 20th-century British art, the response was: ‘Isn’t…

The effortless magnetism of Marcel Duchamp

30 April 2022 9:00 am

One could compile a fat anthology of tributes to Marcel Duchamp’s charm – especially what one friend called the artist’s…

This radical Nativity is also one of the great whodunnits of art history

18 December 2021 9:00 am

Martin Gayford on a radical Nativity that is the subject of one of the great whodunnits of art history

A keepsake – and to-do list – of Europe’s greatest cathedrals

18 December 2021 9:00 am

In his new book on Europe’s cathedrals, Simon Jenkins begins with the claim that the greatest among them are our…

The life of René Magritte was even more surprising than his art

27 November 2021 9:00 am

René Magritte’s life, so outwardly respectable, was as full of surprises as his art, says Philip Hensher

Bright, beautiful and deceptively simple: the art of the linocut

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Charlotte Hobson describes the complicated relationship of two artists who championed simplicity

The first patrons of Modernism deserve much sympathy and respect

25 September 2021 9:00 am

If Modernism is a jungle, how do you navigate a path through its thickets? Some explorers — Peter Gay and…

Like burst balloons after a party: the last paintings of John Hoyland

28 August 2021 9:00 am

When the internationally acclaimed abstract painter John Hoyland died in 2011 at the age of 76, a large chunk of…

Why should art have ever been considered a male preserve?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Sixty years ago, women were still excluded from the art history canon, says Laura Freeman

Apostle of modernism: Clive Bell’s reputation repaired

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Clive Bell is the perennial supporting character in the biographies of the Bloomsbury group. The husband of Vanessa Bell, brother-in-law…

A new blossoming: David Hockney paints Normandy

3 April 2021 9:00 am

In 2018 David Hockney went to Normandy to look at the Bayeux Tapestry, which he had not seen for more…

Ceramic art has been undervalued for too long

3 April 2021 9:00 am

The use of ‘Ceramic’ rather than ‘Ceramics’ in the title of this book indicates Paul Greenhalgh’s passionate belief that ‘ceramic…

Bright and beautiful: the year’s best art books reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

When he was a student, the celebrated American modernist master Robert Rauschenberg once told me that his ‘greatest teacher’ —…

From light into darkness: the genius of Goya

14 November 2020 9:00 am

The great Spanish artist Francisco Goya was born in Zaragoza in 1746, the son of a gilder whose livelihood was…

Will our churches ever reopen?

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Will churches ever fully reopen?

Ivan Morozov: the Russian businessman with a passion for the avant-garde

24 October 2020 9:00 am

If you want to see the very best of Gauguin and Matisse, go east. That was the case in 1914…

From Hogarth to Mardi Gras: the best art podcasts

20 June 2020 9:00 am

If you study History of Art, people generally assume you’re a nice, conscientious, plummy-voiced girl. Sometimes, people are right. It…

Arthur Jeffress: bright young person of the post-war art scene

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

The name Arthur Jeffress may not conjure many associations for those not familiar with the London post-war art world, but…

The Renaissance in 50 shades of grey

14 March 2020 9:00 am

The Mediterranean-centred era spanning a century or so either side of 1492 is filled to the brim with stories. There…

How long is long enough to look at a work of art?

15 February 2020 9:00 am

There is a vogue at the moment for books which use art as a vehicle for examining the writer’s wider…

Portrait of Ruskin dated 1870

John Ruskin: the making of a modern prophet

16 February 2019 9:00 am

At the time of his death in 1900, John Ruskin was, according to Andrew Hill, ‘perhaps the most famous living…

‘The Nativity’, 1470–75, by Piero della Francesca

The fascinating story behind one of the best-loved depictions of the Nativity

15 December 2018 9:00 am

In the early 1370s an elderly Scandinavian woman living in Rome had a vision of the Nativity. Her name was…

Alesso Baldovinetti’s ‘Madonna and Child’ (c. 1464) is rich in symbolism. The infant Christ holds his swaddling band up to the Virgin’s womb, as if it were a token of the umbilical cord that united them. The winding shape of the bandage is echoed in the distant meandering river. The Madonna’s gossamer veil falls over her head as a pyx-cloth might cover a sacramental vessel.The child touches another translucent veil, draped over the cushion beside him. Towering above him, his Mother joins her hands in devotion, as if to acknowledge her Son’s meaningful gestures

Unfolding mysteries: the drama of drapery in Italian art

10 November 2018 9:00 am

The striking yet subtle jacket image from Donatello’s ‘Madonna of the Clouds’ announces this book’s quality from the outset. Its…

Left: ‘Self-portrait,’ 1916. Right: Homage to the Square: Renewed Hope’, 1951 by Josef Albers

Josef Albers: the Bauhaus artist whose pupil designed Auschwitz

20 October 2018 9:00 am

The German-born artist, Josef Albers, was a contrary so-and-so. Late in life, he was asked why — in the early…

‘The Poltergeist’ by Conroy Maddox (1941)

A violent ultimatum ended Giacometti’s brief flirtation with Marlene Dietrich

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Those with long enough memories may remember Desmond Morris as the presenter of the hit ITV children’s programme of Zoo…