sun 12/07/2020

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

The Golden Age of Modern Spanish Art, Colnaghi review - the sun shines in the City of Light

Florence Hallett

When Picasso left Barcelona for Paris in 1900, he took what by then was a well-trodden path for artists eager to be at the very centre of the art world.

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 4: half-way houses

Katherine Waters

With the first round of galleries opening their doors in June and a new round getting ready to open in July, we’ve a half-way home of a roundup this week. This month’s re-openings include the National Gallery, the Royal Academy, the Barbican, the Whitechapel, the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, the Mosaic Rooms, the Estorick Collection, the Garden Museum and the Tates – Modern, Britain, Liverpool and St Ives.

Celia Paul: My Studio, Victoria Miro review -...

Florence Hallett

From her fourth floor flat, which is also her studio, the painter Celia Paul looks out over the British Museum, the figures of the Muses carved into...

Shirley Baker: A Different Age, James Hyman...

Florence Hallett

The note of longing scored into this exhibition’s title is well-judged: as things are now, it is the sight of the elderly in the company of friends,...

Explore Soane review - the museum restored and in...

Florence Hallett

The former home of 19th century architect Sir John Soane has long been celebrated as one of London’s hidden marvels, an astonishing treasure trove of...

Christo (1935-2020) - 'Beauty, science and art will always triumph'

Florence Hallett

One of the great visionaries of our era, Christo believed absolutely in art for art's sake

Dalí Theatre-Museum, Figueres, virtual tour review - tantalising but unsatisfactory

Florence Hallett

The magic of Dalí's private world is lost in its virtual form

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 3: gigapixel Rembrandt, magic mushrooms, and more

Florence Hallett

The best art online this week

Unto the Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin, Watts Gallery–Artists' Village, review - a breath of fresh air

Florence Hallett

The former home of Victorian artists GF and Mary Watts is a restorative treat, even online

XXI presented by ARTCELS, HOFA Gallery review - art as investment

Florence Hallett

Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Banksy and more come together in a depressing investment portfolio

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 2: read, search, listen, create

Katherine Waters

Our pick of visual arts during lockdown

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, Royal Academy, Exhibition on Screen/Facebook Premiere - a hardy perennial returns

Florence Hallett

Monet's garden at Giverny provides an escape back to a hit exhibition from 2016

Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution, Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent online review - capturing the unrepeatable

Florence Hallett

A short but evocative guided tour of this exceptional exhibition goes online

Visual Arts Lockdown Special 1: DIY art, Russell Tovey's chat show, and guided tours online

Florence Hallett

Our pick of the visual arts during lockdown

Rebuilding Notre-Dame: Inside the Great Cathedral Rescue, BBC Four review - a race against time

Florence Hallett

A year after the devastating fire, the cathedral's future is still uncertain

10 Questions for Irina Nalis

Joe Muggs

Multidisciplinary thinking at a multidisciplinary festival in a time of crisis

Léon Spilliaert, Royal Academy review - a maudlin exploration of solitude

Sarah Kent

The world seen through the eyes of melancholy

Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery review - a mixture of euphoria and dismay

Sarah Kent

Our complex relationship with trees explored to powerful effect

Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age, National Gallery review – beautifully observed vignettes

Sarah Kent

The theatre of domestic life in 17th century Holland

Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, The Hepworth Wakefield review - a matter of perception

Katherine Waters

Cerebral show teases out fascinating affinities between photography and sculpture

David Hockney: Drawing from Life, National Portrait Gallery review - an anatomy of love

Florence Hallett

The artist's close friends star in the first exhibition of his drawings for over 20 years

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, Barbican review – a must-see exhibition

Sarah Kent

The masculine identity seen under the microscope

Steve McQueen, Tate Modern review – films that stick in the mind

Sarah Kent

Memorable artist's films by the award winning director

Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium, Whitechapel review - ten distinctive voices

Sarah Kent

Exhilarating proof that painting is alive and kicking

Darren Waterston: Filthy Lucre, V&A review - a timely look at the value of art

Sarah Kent

Whistler's Peacock Room destroyed, or so it seems

Imran Perretta, Chisenhale Gallery review - a deeply affecting film

Sarah Kent

Testament of growing up in London as a young Muslim arouses enormous empathy

Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy review - the most versatile of materials

Florence Hallett

A fascinating subject that proves too unwieldy for a single exhibition

The Best Exhibitions in London


The best exhibitions on now

Best of 2019: Visual Arts

Florence Hallett

The exhibitions we loved most over the past 12 months

Footnote: A brief history of british art

The National Gallery, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection - Britain's art galleries and museums are world-renowned, not only for the finest of British visual arts but core collections of antiquities and artworks from great world civilisations.

Holbein_Ambasssadors_1533The glory of British medieval art lay first in her magnificent cathedrals and manuscripts, but kings, aristocrats, scientists and explorers became the vital forces in British art, commissioning Holbein or Gainsborough portraits, founding museums of science or photography, or building palatial country mansions where architecture, craft and art united in a luxuriously cultured way of life (pictured, Holbein's The Ambassadors, 1533 © National Gallery). A rich physician Sir Hans Sloane launched the British Museum with his collection in 1753, and private collections were the basis in the 19th century for the National Gallery, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the original Tate gallery and the Wallace Collections.

British art tendencies have long passionately divided between romantic abstraction and a deep-rooted love of narrative and reality. While 19th-century movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite painters and Victorian Gothic architects paid homage to decorative medieval traditions, individualists such as George Stubbs, William Hogarth, John Constable, J M W Turner and William Blake were radicals in their time.

In the 20th century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers embody the contrasts between fantasy and observation. More recently another key patron, Charles Saatchi, championed the sensational Britart conceptual art explosion, typified by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The Arts Desk reviews all the major exhibitions of art and photography as well as interviewing leading creative figures in depth about their careers and working practices. Our writers include Fisun Guner, Judith Flanders, Sarah Kent, Mark Hudson, Sue Steward and Josh Spero.

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