Charles Hope was Director of the Warburg Institute, London, from 2001 to 2010. He is the author of Titian.


Rubens: ‘Dramatic, Moving, Convincing’

Peter Paul Rubens: The Massacre of the Innocents (detail), 1636–1638

The Catholic Rubens: Saints and Martyrs

by Willibald Sauerländer, translated from the German by David Dollenmayer
When we visit museums today, not only are the works that we see no longer in settings like those for which they were made, but in many cases the reasons why particular subjects were carved or painted are obscure. The subjects themselves are often unfamiliar, or at least they do …

England: How the Masterpieces Came and Went

David Teniers the Younger: Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Picture Gallery in Brussels, 1651–1653. Many of the archduke’s pictures were bought in bulk from the collection of the Duke of Hamilton after the duke was executed during the English Civil War.

The King’s Pictures: The Formation and Dispersal of the Collections of Charles I and His Courtiers

by Francis Haskell, edited and with an introduction by Karen Serres, and a foreword by Nicholas Penny
Until about sixty years ago art historians were mainly interested in works of art and the artists who had made them. But especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they also began to consider the wider setting in which art was produced, often associating artistic changes with other social …

The Art of the Phony

The American art forger Ken Perenyi with one of his works, 1988

Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age

by Jonathon Keats

Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession

by Thierry Lenain
The existence of a market for any kind of valuable object almost always encourages the production of counterfeits. It happens with drugs, banknotes, and designer handbags. It also happens with works of art. But whereas counterfeiting banknotes or other documents has always been considered a crime, attitudes toward art forgery have changed greatly over time.

The Wrong Leonardo?

The Louvre’s Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci, 1483–1490 (left); the National Gallery’s version of Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks, circa 1508 (right)

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan

an exhibition at the National Gallery, London, November 9, 2011–February 5, 2012
Exhibitions of drawings by Leonardo, almost always based on the uniquely rich collection in the Royal Library at Windsor, are relatively common. But outside the Louvre, which owns four of Leonardo’s pictures, it is rare indeed to have the opportunity of seeing more than a couple of his paintings together. The museums that possess such works are understandably reluctant to loan them, both because of their fragility and because of their fame; and apart from the Louvre, only the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg can make a plausible claim to possess more than one finished picture by him. Yet the exhibition currently at the National Gallery in London includes, according to the sponsor of the exhibition, Credit Suisse, “around half of the 15 or so paintings by Leonardo which are known to be in existence, as well as 50 of his original drawings,” including thirty-three from the Royal Collection. For most of those fortunate enough to have acquired tickets, for which demand vastly exceeds supply, this is an experience that is unlikely to be repeated.

Mind Your Maniera

Painting in Renaissance Florence, 1500–1550

by David Franklin

Pontormo, Bronzino, Allori: A Genealogy of Florentine Art

by Elizabeth Pilliod
Living in an age of museums and exhibitions, and when interest in the history of art is widespread, one easily forgets that until a couple of centuries ago what mattered to critics and the wider public, as well as to artists, was contemporary art. The art of earlier periods that …

E.H. Gombrich (1909–2001)

Ernst Gombrich, who died on November 3, was born in Vienna in 1909. His parents participated in the cultural and intellectual life of their time, numbering Freud and Mahler among their acquaintances, while remaining rather conventional in their tastes. From his mother Gombrich inherited a lifelong passion for music, and …

The Last ‘Last Supper’

Leonardo: The Last Supper

with essays by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon and Pietro C. Marani,translated from the Italian by Harlow Tighe

Il Genio e le Passioni: Leonardo e il Cenacolo: Precedenti, innovazioni, riflessi di un capolavoro (The Genius and the Passions: Leonardo and the Last Supper: Precedents, Innovations, Reflections of a Masterpiece)

Catalog of the exhibition edited by Pietro C. Marani, with a preface by Ernst H. Gombrich
Leonardo belongs to the very small group of painters who are as famous for their personalities or their lives as for their work. The basic elements of the legend are already present in the biography produced by Vasari in 1550: his precocious and prodigious talent, the range of his interests, …

On Francis Haskell (1928–2000)

Francis Haskell, who died on January 18 at the age of seventy-one, was one of the most important art historians of his time. He developed new ways of approaching the subject, and in doing so profoundly influenced the way in which we think about the art of the past. Throughout …