Monthly Archives: November 2022

Manet at the National Gallery: what the x-ray reveals

The National Gallery used to have a handy format called Painting in Focus. Taking a single picture from the collection, the gallery would examine it from many sides, deepening and enlarging our understanding of it. It did it with The Ambassadors by Holbein, Madame Moitessier by Ingres and Bathers at Asnières by Seurat. So the […]

What does the 2022 Turner prize have in common with my daughter’s pet canary?

I had a canary once. Or, rather, our daughter had a canary that we, as doting parents, ended up looking after. When it arrived in our household it was a bundle of beautiful orange energy, flitting here, flitting there, recurrently bursting into an ecstatic trill. Then the decline set in. First it stopped singing. Then it […]

Painting is having a special moment: look at Amy Sherald

Last week was the week of the Frieze art fair — “the most important week in the contemporary art calendar”. So I did what any true art lover would do and gave this monstrous souk a wide berth, thereby avoiding the invasive tents, the snooty doormen, the “important collectors” imported from Florida, the £20 glasses […]

Waldemar Januszczak decodes the British Museum’s hieroglyphics show

Only rarely have I exited an exhibition having learnt as much as I learnt from Hieroglyphs at the British Museum. It’s the perfect show — deep, fascinating, full of beautiful things, full of beautiful ideas. While so many exhibitions get bogged down in narcissistic identity issues and evening-class politics, this one is driven by that […]