sun 01/05/2016

Visual Arts reviews, news & interviews

Alberto Giacometti, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich

Marina Vaizey

An exceptionally wide-ranging exhibition of paintings, sculptures, drawings and lithographs by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) commemorates the 50th anniversary of his death. Amidst the flurry of Giacometti exhibitions – the National Portrait Gallery’s Pure Presence last autumn and a huge exhibition at Tate Modern to come next spring – this anthology is unmissable for the different contexts it offers.Giacometti’s close and lifelong working relationship with his brother Diego, the designer whose...

John Piper, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Florence Hallett

You wouldn't judge a painting on how it would look in your own home, but textiles are different: in fact it is exactly this assessment that counts. A length of fabric laid flat is a half-formed thing: it needs to be cut, stitched and draped before we can appreciate it, and even then it must take its place within an interior, domestic or public, before we can really understand it. Fabrics need – to coin a terrible, but useful expression – to be activated.There are examples of John Piper’s...

Sicily: Culture and Conquest, British Museum

Alison Cole

This exhibition – the UK's first major exploration of the history of Sicily – highlights two astonishing epochs in the cultural history of the island...

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

Sarah Kent

“Look at the pictures”, yells apoplectic Senator Jesse Helms as he brandishes a clutch of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, “a known homosexual who...

James McNeill Whistler: Prints, The Fine Art...

Marina Vaizey

It can be given to few commercial galleries to have sustained a relationship with the same artist for over 130 years, but such is the link between...

Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979, Tate Britain

Sarah Kent

A lacklustre evocation of an exciting, radical period

10 Questions for Artist Clare Woods

Florence Hallett

The sculptor turned painter talks about her monograph, working with her husband, and the artists who inspire her

Magical Surfaces: The Uncanny in Contemporary Photography, Parasol Unit

Sarah Kent

Making it and faking it: two generations transcend the everyday

Dutch Flowers, National Gallery

Alison Cole

Paintings that capture the dramas and anxieties of an age

Franciszka & Stefan Themerson, Camden Arts Centre

Sarah Kent

The Polish couple whose brilliant books have had a lasting influence on British design

Zaha Hadid: 'The most extraordinarily gifted architect of her generation'

Hugh Pearman

The fierce, funny and brilliant Baghdad-born trailblazer remembered

Strange and Familiar, Barbican

Marina Vaizey

A fascinating view from without: world photographers on British identity

Highlights from the Portland Collection, Harley Gallery, Welbeck

Marina Vaizey

In the heart of Nottinghamshire, a new gallery showcases unimaginable treasures

DVD: Ken Russell - The Great Passions

Kieron Tyler

The cultural provocateur takes on Henri Rousseau, Isadora Duncan and Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Des canyons aux étoiles, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel, Barbican

David Nice

Nature in Deborah O'Grady's photography outshines Messiaen's homage

Russia and the Arts, National Portrait Gallery

Tom Birchenough

A 19th century cultural pantheon, legacy of a great patron-collector

Paul Strand, Victoria & Albert Museum

Sarah Kent

Searing portraits, immaculate compositions: the American who made photography art

Opinion: Paintings with nothing to lose but their frames

Marina Vaizey

Sometimes frilly, always unwanted: a new show highlights the curse of frame shadow

In the Age of Giorgione, Royal Academy

Florence Hallett

A tantalising evocation of 16th-century Venice, but the great painter remains elusive

Andsnes and Friends at the Astrup Exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery

David Nice

The Norwegian artist's singularity complemented by native chamber music

Botticelli Reimagined, Victoria & Albert Museum

Florence Hallett

Was the Renaissance master a pioneer of brand identity?

Hilma Af Klint, Serpentine Gallery

Sarah Kent

A pioneer of abstraction rescued from obscurity

Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius, Science Museum

Veronica Lee

Small but enlightening show about the polymath's machines

Avedon Warhol, Gagosian Gallery

Marina Vaizey

Two American greats tackle power and celebrity in parallel portrait of an age

Six of the best: Art


theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top exhibitions

Botticelli and Treasures from the Hamilton Collection, Courtauld Gallery

Florence Hallett

The drawings for Dante's 'Divine Comedy': a swansong for the age of manuscript illumination

Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern

Sarah Kent

Taking selfies to make sure you go down in history

Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art, National Gallery

Florence Hallett

A man out of time: the Romantic painter revered by the Parisian avant-garde

The Renaissance Unchained, BBC Four

Marina Vaizey

Could this momentous cultural movement have happened without our friends in the North?

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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Eugène Delacroix, 'Lion Hunt'(detail), 1861 © The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois


Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art at the National Gallery 
Until 22 May
Few artists have had the same impact and lasting influence as Eugène Delacroix. He was the most famous and controversial French painter of his time, and one of the first modern masters.

Book now to discover this revolutionary figure and explore his profound impact on generations of artists. Also featuring works by Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Kandinsky.

From courses and talks to free live music, you can also enjoy our Delacroix related events. Step into a painting and create beautiful felt flowers and explore styles of Romantic painting with curators and artists.

 Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art - Book Now!


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