visual art

‘The Wilderness, Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire’ by Balthasar Nebot

Why is the garden absent in English painting?

8 August 2015 9:00 am

One of the default settings of garden journalists is the adjective ‘painterly’ — applied to careful colour harmonies within a…

Whole worlds are conjured up in a few strokes: Watercolour at the Fitzwilliam Museum reviewed

1 August 2015 9:00 am

I learnt to splash about in watercolour at my grandmother’s knee. Or rather, sitting beside her crouched over a pad…

The artist who only turned into a major painter once he became a homicidal maniac

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Charles Dickens’s description of Cobham Park, Kent, in The Pickwick Papers makes it seem a perfect English landscape. Among its…

John Waters: ‘I’m a good uncle — I’ll get you an abortion, I’ll get you out of jail, I’ll take you to rehab.’

John Waters interview: ‘We can’t make fun of Bruce Jenner?’

11 July 2015 9:00 am

No one does transgression like the filmmaker John Waters. Jasper Rees talks to him about political correctness, post-ops and pubes

Detail of a maiolica vase, c.1565–1571, a star piece for both Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill and later for Baron Ferdinand at Waddesdon Manor

Forget Vienna - Britain now has its own chamber of curiosities at the British Museum

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Art is not jewellery. Its value does not reside in the price of the materials from which it is made.…

‘Untitled (Tilly Losch)’, c.1935–38, by Joseph Cornell

Poetic or pretentious? Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust at the Royal Academy reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Someone once asked Joseph Cornell who was his favourite abstract artist of his time. It was a perfectly reasonable question…

As blatant rip-offs go, this one is shaping up nicely: Odyssey, BBC2, reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

This week’s Imagine… Jeff Koons: Diary of a Seducer (BBC1, Tuesday) began with Koons telling a slightly puzzled-looking Alan Yentob…

‘Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red) [6]’, 1943, by Barbara Hepworth

Was Barbara Hepworth a giant of modern sculpture - or a dreary relic of post-war Britain?

27 June 2015 9:00 am

In the last two decades of her life, Barbara Hepworth was a big figure in the world of art. A…

The artist who turned the Hayward Gallery into Disney World

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Gianlorenzo Bernini stressed the difficulty of making a sculpture of a person out of a white material such as marble.…

James Turrell interview: ‘I sell blue sky and coloured air’

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford talks to the artist James Turrell, who has lit up Houghton Hall like a baroque firework display

Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition reviewed: a jumble sale with pizzazz

6 June 2015 9:00 am

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has very little in common with the Venice Biennale. However they do share one characteristic.…

Welcome to Japan’s best kept cultural secret: an art island with an underground museum

23 May 2015 9:00 am

In his introductory remarks to the Afro–Eurasian Eclipse, one of his later suites for jazz orchestra, Duke Ellington remarked —…

Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum is very good news - for the Met

23 May 2015 9:00 am

About six years ago the first section of the now celebrated High Line was opened in New York and made…

One of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Scots pines in the French Pavilion

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

‘Wrestlers’, 1914, by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska at Kettle's Yard reviewed: he's got rhythm

2 May 2015 9:00 am

One evening before the first world war, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, fired by drink, tried out such then-fashionable dances as the cakewalk…

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine

Luxury isn’t the opposite of poverty but the opposite of vulgarity - but don’t tell the V&A

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Different concepts of luxury may be inferred from a comparison of the wedding feast of Charles Bovary and Emma Rouault…

Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery reviewed: a mixed bag of sometimes magnificent paintings

7 March 2015 9:00 am

When it was suggested that a huge exhibition of Impressionist paintings should be held in London, Claude Monet had his…

Marlene Dumas at Tate Modern reviewed: 'remarkable'

7 February 2015 9:00 am

‘Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting,’ Henri Matisse once advised, ‘should begin by cutting out his own tongue.’ Marlene…

Mohammed — in pictures

24 January 2015 9:00 am

Two months ago I was sitting beside the tomb of a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, telling a story about…

Geometry in the 20th and 21st centuries was adventurous - and apocalyptic

17 January 2015 9:00 am

Almost a decade ago, David Cameron informed Tony Blair, unkindly but accurately, ‘You were the future once.’ A visitor to…

The tragic tale of the Two Roberts is a story of two artists cut off in their prime

10 January 2015 9:00 am

In 1933, two new students met on their first day at Glasgow School of Art. From then on they were…

‘Woman at Her Toilette’, 1875/80, by Berthe Morisot

2015 in exhibitions - painting still rules

3 January 2015 9:00 am

The art on show over the coming year demonstrates that we still live in an age of mighty painters, says Martin Gayford

‘The Census at Bethlehem’, 1566, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Climate change, Bruegel-style

13 December 2014 9:00 am

The world depicted by the Flemish master is not so different from our own, says Martin Gayford

‘Melting Snow at Wormingford’, 1962, by John Nash

Snow - art’s biggest challenge

13 December 2014 9:00 am

In owning a flock of artificial sheep, Joseph Farquharson must have been unusual among Highland lairds a century ago. His…

‘The Life Room’, 1977–80, by John Wonnacott

The death of the life class

6 December 2014 9:00 am

‘Love of the human form’, writes the painter John Lessore, ‘must be the origin of that peculiar concept, the Life…