Delacroix’s impact on Impressionism

London’s art museums, with their rich treasure troves of paintings, are perfectly placed to instruct as well as entertain their audiences. The National Gallery has long proved adept at using what they own to educate the public in a superbly engaging manner. In Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art (until 22 May), the mastery…

Calder’s changing shapes at Tate

If I write the word sculpture, you probably think of something solid and heavy, the sort of thing you may find in an old park. Alexander Calder has changed that forever. His sculpture is light and ethereal, it floats and changes. The shadows you see will never quite be those that I have seen. It…

The politics of a global Pop

The world may seem in turmoil today, but that’s nothing on the late Sixties and early Seventies. Looking back at those days through the prism of Tate Modern’s The World Goes Pop (until 24 Jan 2016) is a harsh reminder of how close it all got to going up in smoke. Pop is generally associated…

Ai WeiWei wows London at Royal Academy

  China may be inclined to lock him up, but London has certainly laid out the red carpet for that thorn in the side of the Chinese government, Ai WeiWei. No matter that some over-zealous British official decided to refuse his visa initially, there has seldom been such a hero’s welcome for any artist. The…

Hepworth’s abstracts still look modern

Art exhibitions in London this summer seem to have gone beyond the mere two dimensional plane and need to be experienced rather than simply seen. Standing in front of Barbara Hepworth’s monumental hardwood carvings, peering through the hollows of the inside painted white surfaces which catch the light, one understands why this much-loved sculptor so…

Summer show a riot of colour

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition (until 16 August) has drawn crowds for over two centuries and something in the eclectic mix ensures it continues to do so. Twelve thousand public send-ins are reduced to a whopping 1200 pieces that offer something for absolutely everyone. The show is a major fund-raiser for the Academy’s school, and…

The man who made Impressionism

  You may never have heard of Paul Durand-Ruel, but without his input, you may also never have experienced the thrill of delight at viewing the Impressionists. The National Gallery’s exhibition Inventing Impressionism (until 31 May) traces the story of this French art dealer from his early beginnings as a dealer of the Barbizon school…

Rembrandt’s unflinching portraits

The National Gallery presents a superb range of Rembrandt’s work for the exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works (until 18 Jan 2015) which focuses on the artist’s last two decades. They include loans such as the enormous canvas, The Conspiracy of the Batavians (1661) from Sweden, measuring two by three meters and conceived as an even…

Kiefer’s monumental vision

Anselm Kiefer is older in years than either Rembrandt or Turner when they died, but the centuries that divide these artists mean that no-one is talking of ‘late works’ for this 69-year-old German whose powerful vigour is on display in every recent work at the Royal Academy’s retrospective (until 14 Dec). Kiefer is a master…

Constable’s tiny gems at V&A

Constable and Turner. Two great rivals and the two great masters of Victorian British art are currently enjoying massive exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate, respectively. If Turner’s best works are of stormy seas, then Constable’s are images of the English countryside. His masterpieces are of the hills and vales of…