arts and design

A smirking masterwork and Christo’s posthumous triumph – the week in art

Exhibition of the week

Frans Hals
A constellation of engrossing portraits by this great Dutch artist focuses attention on the Wallace Collection’s most charismatic treasure, his masterpiece The Laughing Cavalier.
Wallace Collection, London, 22 September to 30 January.

Also showing

Summer Exhibition
A revolutionary rethink by coordinator Yinka Shonibare turns this often staid affair into an unmissable survey of world art now.
Royal Academy, London, 22 September to 2 January.

Eerie exercises in late-Victorian gothic and Edwardian noir by a brilliant painter fascinated with sex and death.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 18 September to 27 February.

Duncan Grant: 1920
Joyous paintings of nature, mythology and desire by the most gifted artist in the Bloomsbury Group.
Charleston, East Sussex, 18 September to 13 March

Grinling Gibbons
A baroque genius whose flowing sculptures decorate some of Britain’s grandest buildings gets close scrutiny.
Compton Verney, Warwickshire, 25 September to 30 January.

Image of the week

An onlooker takes a picture as workers put the final touches to the Arc’s wrapping.
An onlooker takes a picture as workers put the final touches to the Arc’s wrapping. Photograph: François Mori/AP

A long-cherished dream by Christo to wrap Paris’s landmark Arc de Triomphe is being realised. The €14m project has been funded by the sale of sketches, models and other works by the late artist, who died in May 2020.

What we learned

Curator Yinka Shonibare has brought five-star fun to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition

The latest Riba Stirling prize shortlist was announced

and Glenn Murcutt became the first Australian architect to win the Praemium Imperiale award

an honour shared with Sebastião Salgado

Liu Xiaodong painted the Chinese diaspora in London

A floating head sculpture has returned to Glasgow

Scientists say there’s an art to a creative hot streak

The legacy of Blaxploitation film posters still endures today

and Tyler Mitchell documented Black lives in Georgia

A photo print sale will raise funds for female journalists in Afghanistan

A group of photographic artists secretly changed Brazil forever

Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud reflected on what his TV programme has built

David Bailey revealed he has vascular dementia

Sickert was a malevolent master

Duncan Grant filled his life’s work with sensuality

Lucas Foglia recalled the New York summer after 9/11

The Gay Hussar offered lunch with a cartoon twist

Great white sharks can fly

A new London show celebrates unseen fashion illustrations

There was more to Frans Hals than The Laughing Cavalier

Sotheby’s will auction Karl Lagerfeld’s possessions

London’s Design Museum will host an Amy Winehouse retrospective

Film-maker Martina Hall had a flair for celebrating women’s creativity

Masterpiece of the week

Women Bathing in a Landscape
Photograph: The National Gallery London

Women Bathing in a Landscape, Cornelis van Poelenburgh, c 1630
We all dream of a bit of sunshine. In early 17th-century Netherlands, as rain fell on the polders, many painters headed on what was then a dangerous trek to sunny Italy. Van Poelenburgh was from Utrecht, a city whose artists were particularly partial to a glass of chianti. Or more precisely, Utrecht was and is a Catholic city, which stuck with the old religion while other Dutch towns went Protestant. So Van Poelenburgh, Gerrit van Honthorst and other Utrecht artists felt comfortable in Papal Rome where they learned from Guido Reni and Caravaggio.

In this painting, done after he got home to Utrecht, Van Poelenburgh distils the glamour of Italy. Women bathe naked among ancient Roman ruins under a gold-tinged sky. It’s the same idyll of a Mediterranean arcadia that would seduce later northern artists from Turner to Matisse. O for a cup of the warm south.

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