arts and design

Constable hits Stonehenge, Hogarth does Europe and witches get a makeover – the week in art


Exhibition of the week

Late Constable
A tremendous gathering of Constable’s intense, expressive paintings that will open all eyes to his genius.
Royal Academy, London, from 30 October until 13 February.

Deborah Roberts: Laying My burdens down (2021).
Deborah Roberts: Laying My burdens down (2021). Photograph: Mark Blower/Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Also showing

Deborah Roberts
Powerful and disturbing images of fragmented identity in today’s America.
Bluecoat, Liverpool, until 23 January.

Hogarth and Europe
The first self-consciously “British” artist gets a continental makeover.
Tate Britain, London, from 3 November until 20 March.

Chioma Ebinama
Dreamy paintings that mix African folklore and the fiction of Italo Calvino.
Maureen Paley Gallery, London, until 19 December.

Petrit Halilaj
An installation that remembers the artist’s refugee childhood.
Tate St Ives until 16 January.

Image of the week

A highly symbolically decorated witch by Oh is based on the Devil Tarot card.
Photograph: Vic Oh

Based on a tarot card, this painting of a symbolically decorated witch by French artist Vic Oh comes from a new book, published just in time for Halloween, that seeks to rescue witches from the warty, green-skinned and haggard stereotypes and recast them as typically young and glamorous practitioners of highly sexualised magick. Read more about it here.

What we learned

Constable’s England was not as bucolic as you may think

Oslo’s mega Munch museum is a Scream

Some photographs can be life-changing

Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is memorialising Covid victims with sand and robots

Grayson Perry wants to know what normal is

A new show reveals Warhol’s Catholic side

while a trove of drawings by Franz Kafka show his sunny side

Civil rights-era photographer Doris Derby reported from the frontline of the struggle for racial equality

Afghanistan’s female graffiti artists are planning a show in exile

while a new generation of female British painters are getting due recognition

Ai Weiwei has published his memoir

The Roman villa with the world’s only Caravaggio mural is up for sale

Veronese painted the sultans of the Ottoman empire

Archaeologists made a remarkable discovery at Fountains Abbey

Six art forgers have been sent to jail in Spain

Queer culture has produced its own variants on the traditional family portrait

Sculptor Ron Mueck shows that size isn’t everything

Brazilian Artivist’ Thiago Mundano used ash from Amazon fires to paint a vast mural

Clifford Prince King’s best photograph captures an intimate moment in a public place

Photographer Greg Williams was on the set of the new film by Edgar Wright

whose fans are an artistic lot

New York photographer Richard Rothman has documented life in small-town Colorado

The first penny black is going under the hammer

John Giorno’s was not the only Dial-a-Poem service

Australia’s archivists are keeping the nation’s memories alive

while its Indigenous art is brightening up Plymouth

The African and Caribbean locals of east London are celebrated in a street exhibition

Masterpiece of the week

Jacob van Ruisdael, Vessels in a Fresh Breeze c 1660-5
Photograph: The National Gallery, London

Jacob van Ruisdael: Vessels in a Fresh Breeze (c 1660-5)
When you look at British paintings of looming skies and roiling seas by Constable and Turner it’s easy to forget that the Netherlands too is on the North Sea (and the North Sea is often on the Netherlands). Dutch artists were tasting its salt air long before there was even a British landscape school to speak of. This painting by one of the great Dutch landscapists of the 1600s dwells with melancholy acceptance on the power of the waves and the menace of a black raincloud looming high over fragile sailing boats. Simon Schama shows in his book The Embarrassment of Riches how Dutch culture at this time imagined itself in a moral contract with the waters, reclaiming land through virtue, being punished for vice by storm, flood and shipwreck. In this painting, the moral universe that Schama describes is held just about in balance but the little boats could be in serious trouble very quickly if the weather gets any worse.
National Gallery, London

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