Renaissance grotesquerie with the Ugly Duchess, our fragile relationship with nature, and prize-winning Finnish video art about sea salt – all in your weekly dispatch
Fri 10 Mar 2023 07.41 EST
Exhibition of the week
The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance
The National Gallery investigates grotesque humour in the Renaissance and reveals the dark side of Leonardo da Vinci.
• National Gallery, London, from 16 March to 11 June
Empowering Art: Indigenous Creativity and Activism from North America’s Northwest Coast
Contemporary takes on the great Indigenous art traditions of the Pacific coast, which were established long before the USA.
• Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, from 12 March to 30 July
Nastja Säde Rönkkö
Prize-winning Finnish video art about salt and its mythologies, from blood to seawater.
• Beaconsfield, London, from 16 March to 6 May
Our interdependence with the rest of nature is investigated by Vivian Caccuri, Keira Greene, nabbteeri and others.
• Site Gallery, Sheffield, from 16 March-28 May.
Tony Robinson, Dr Julietta Singh, nautical pilot Geoff Taylor, and artists Liliane Lijn and Fiona Crisp are among those turning curator to see the Mima collection afresh.
• Mima, Middlesbrough, until 18 June.
Image of the week
Work in Progress by Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake (2021-22)
Inspired by the Sgt Pepper’s album cover, Work in Progress is a seven-panel mural (of which three panels are shown here) featuring the likeness of 130 British women from Boudicca to Mary Beard. Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery as part of its three-year project to expand female representation in its collection, it will handily double the number of women on the walls of the post-1900 galleries to 48%, when the buildings reopen in June following extensive refurbishment. Read the full story here.
What we learned
A rare Brueghel the Younger painting was found behind a door in a French family home
A Ming dynasty Buddha found in Australia could rewrite history
Modernist master David Chipperfield almost failed architecture school
The Californian desert is full of sculptural wonders
The band once known as Exit Through the Gift Shop are selling their Banksy
Harewood House near Leeds has commissioned a portrait of actor and author David Harewood
A Henry Moore fund will pay the bills of sculptors struggling with the cost of living
The Picasso museum in Paris has reinvented itself to address the artist’s troubled reputation
Treasures from new digs show Pompeii is not frozen in time
Britain could still lose Joshua Reynolds’ magnificent Portrait of Omai
James McBey was the Rembrandt of Aberdeenshire
En Liang Khong has won this year’s Observer/Anthony Burgess prize for arts journalism
Typist Artist Pirate King is a generous portrait of neglected artist Audrey Amiss
Masterpiece of the week
The Adoration of the Magi, attributed to Hieronymus Bosch
The fantastic visionary mind of Bosch blazes from this excellent early copy of one of his eeriest works. The original is in the Prado, Madrid, but you could mistake this version for a painting by the mysterious artist from ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It’s a surreal masterpiece that has nothing in common with the portraits and landscapes elsewhere in the stately home where it hangs. The city in the distance resembles something from a sci-fi film or game, its bulging buildings alien and bizarrely organic. In front of the stable, an African king is portrayed in a lifelike way, perhaps based on someone Bosch met in the global port of Antwerp. The rotting stable has a slumping tragicomedy to it. From inside, the semi-nude antichrist gawps at the newborn child. All is utterly changed in this apocalyptic adoration.
• Petworth House, National Trust
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