Exhibition of the week
Impeccable and fascinating paintings that create mystery and leave you haunted, like the covers of novels that are yet to be written.
Tate Britain, London, until February 26.
Friends and Relations
Four great painters – Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud and Michael Andrews – rival each other to paint the unvarnished truth.
Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, London, until January 28.
Tony Swain: Sight Deserted
Part collage, part painting, Swain’s art has a ruinous tatty grandeur.
Modern Institute, Glasgow, until 14 January.
The colonial symbolism of botany is teased out by Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Minji Choi and more.
CCA, Derry, until December 21.
Artists Making Books: Poetry to Politics
Artists’ books and bibliophile interventions from the contemporary Middle East including Kareem Risan’s meditation on an explosion in Baghdad.
British Museum, London, until September 17.
Image of the week
Martin Parr visited Athens in 1991. Prints from his shoot there became water-damaged and he has now scanned them digitally to produce a series he has called Acropolis Now. “I initially panicked when I realized my prints had got damaged by a leak in my office,” Parr says. “However, I thought, these look interesting. In fact, to be brutally honest, they were better than the originals.” See the gallery here.
What we learned
Art has tackled football
Architect Daniel Libeskind has joined the fight to save Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn in Cumbria
John Betjeman’s campaign to save Liverpool Street station in London is being revived
A convoy of Ukrainian modern art made a daring journey to Madrid
A new exhibition captures the primal paradise of Sussex
British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu’s invitation to “shamanic journeys” has won the Jarman award
An artist is campaigning to have a mountain renamed
The Parthenon has been created in dazzling colour
Zanele Muholi is rewriting South Africa’s Black queer and trans visual history
The surrealists would have made a fun fantasy football team
An artificial intelligence thinks a contested portrait is probably a Renoir
Masterpiece of the week
Head of a Woman, c 1475, by Andrea del Verrocchio
Looking at this delicate vision of a young woman it’s easy to guess that Verrocchio was Leonardo da Vinci’s teacher. The intricacy of her hairstyle was still echoing in Leonardo’s art in the early 1500s when he drew similarly entwined locks in his sketches of Leda and the Swan. There’s also a realism to Verrocchio’s drawing that has a lot in common with Leonardo’s youthful portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, which was done around the same time as this study: while at first sight it’s easy to call Verrocchio’s portrayal “idealised”, he actually shades her features with fleshy truthfulness, and hints at the inner life. This is reminiscent of Botticelli, who was also starting to depict women with intense poetry at this time. In short, this is a jewel of Renaissance Florentine art and its adoration of women.
British Museum, London
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