arts and design

Subverted Warhol and the world's largest painting – the week in art

Exhibition of the week

Leading commercial galleries offer their samplings of influential contemporary artists from Victoria Miro’s delve into the work of British conceptualist Stephen Willats to Helly Nahmad’s presentation of Antoni Tapies. All the fun of the fair without leaving home.
Art Basel online until 27 March.

Also showing

Titian Tour
Last chance to virtually visit the National Gallery’s ravishing exhibition of Titian’s mythological canvases.
National Gallery online until 31 March.

Dismal Thoughts: Thomas Carlyle on Race
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery investigates the racial beliefs of this famous Victorian historical thinker who was one of its founding figures and was powerfully photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh online.

This provocative selection of works about democracy, including Richard Hamilton’s Northern Ireland history painting The State, and Bob and Roberta Smith’s All Schools Should Be Art Schools, can be enjoyed online until the show opens for real at Tate Liverpool in May.
Tate Liverpool online.

Royals and Rebels
The V&A has the finest collection of India’s art outside India. This talk about the history of the Sikh empire sheds light on one aspect of the cultural complexity it reflects.
V&A, London, online until 29 March.

Image of the week

Sacha Jafri stands on his record-breaking painting, The Journey of Humanity, at the Atlantis The Palm hotel in Dubai.

Sacha Jafri stands on his record-breaking painting, The Journey of Humanity, at the Atlantis The Palm hotel in Dubai. Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

Work by British artist Sacha Jafri consisting of the world’s largest painting on canvas was sold for $62m (£45m) at an auction in Dubai. The Journey of Humanity is split into 70 framed sections spanning 1,595.76 sq metres – equivalent to almost four basketball courts. Organisers said the work sold for $62m, double the amount targeted, with the money going to charities helping children. Read more here.

What we learned

Ai Weiwei joined artists reflecting on a year of Covid culture

We got to look behind the scenes at the V&A under lockdown

A house on Mars is the latest digital art work to make a fortune

Gerhard Richter has donated his Holocaust art to Berlin

German plans to return Benin bronzes to Nigeria pile pressure on UK institutions

with the University of Aberdeen announcing it will return a pillaged bronze

Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival has cancelled a planned art work made from Indigenous people’s blood

prompting a wave of artists to demand change at parent museum Mona

Chinese architects are building a rural revolution

One of the most stolen pieces of art of all time has been fitted with a €30m glass case

Ja Rule sold a Fyre festival NFT artwork for $122,000 – and threw a real painting in too

Photographer Charlie Phillips is finally getting his due

JRR Tolkien’s illustrations are appearing in The Lord of the Rings for the first time

Female street photographers around the world revealed their inspiration

as young mothers pin their hopes on the American dream

A new photo archive celebrates the history of queer black Britain

… and Qatar’s Tasweer photo festival salutes the New Black Vanguard

Thomas Demand made a cannabis lab out of cardboard

The V&A East’s Gus Casely-Hayford is dragging museums into the 21st century

The 24 photo project has reached its 18th year

The UK’s National Gallery is sending Monet to Southampton

Molly Goddard is turning up the volume in fashion

A new film reveals a darker side to Alvar Aalto

The Great British Art Tour uncovered an inspiration for suffragettes, tarnished hopes, Gypsy culture, the dignity of Paul Robeson and riots on the streets of South Wales

Van Gogh’s art paid for his sister’s care

Downing Street’s media makeover was a blue day for design

Photographer Claudia Andujar captured the under-threat Yanomami in Brazil

… while Joel Meyerowitz’s wild flowers entranced

We remembered designer Zeev Aram

… and Byzantine scholar Cyril Mango

Masterpiece of the week

Saint Veronica with the Sudarium, c1420.

Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images

Master of Saint Veronica, Veronica with the Sudarium, circa 1420
This German medieval painting depicts one of the spookiest and strangest Christian artistic traditions. Saint Veronica holds up the cloth she is said to have offered Christ so he could wipe his sweaty face as he carried his cross to Golgotha. When he gave her hanky back, an image of his face was imprinted on it. A relic said to be the Sudarium survives in the Vatican. Much more famous in modern times is the Turin Shroud, said to show a complete image of Christ’s face and body, which photographic negatives gave a new lease of life in the 20th century. So try to see this painting as if it were the Shroud: ghostly “proof” of both the historicity and supernatural being of Christ. This smooth, forward-gazing, bearded image of Jesus was emulated by Renaissance artists in the belief it was miraculously accurate. Even Leonardo da Vinci created his own version of it in Salvator Mundi.
National Gallery online.

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