Exhibition of the week
A sceptical new look at the National Museum Cardiff’s portrait of Thomas Picton, hero of Waterloo – and tyrant of Trinidad.
National Museum Cardiff until 3 September 2023
Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear
Renaissance men in tights and Regency dandies feature alongside today’s male garb.
V&A, London, until 6 November.
Our Time on Earth
This exhibition about the climate emergency could hardly be more urgent.
Barbican, London, until 29 August.
Marvellous Makers, Wondrous Worlds
The magical 3D embroidery of 17th-century women bursts with mermaids and other myths.
Holburne Museum, Bath, until 11 September.
Image of the week
Carrie Mae Weems’s 1990 image Untitled (Woman and daughter with makeup) is among a wide range of photographs by women donated to the Museum of Modern Art in New York by the collector Helen Kornblum. “All the images are organised around this question: ‘What is a feminist picture?’” writes Kornblum. This shot is one of 20 in Weems’s Kitchen Table Series. The tender scene illustrates one of the ways in which gender is learned and performed, while also celebrating the private subjectivity, beauty and inner lives of Black women. View gallery of images from Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum, on display until 10 October, here.
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
William Feilding, 1st Earl of Denbigh, by Anthony van Dyck, c 1633-34
This is a very early painting of British colonialism in India. It was not painted there but in Britain after this prominent courtier of Charles I returned from a visit to some of the first bases of the East India Company, founded in 1600 to rival Spain, Portugal and Holland in the global spice trade. Anticipating later East India Company habits, Feilding wears Indian dress. But there’s no doubting the power relationship between Britain and India, so early in their shared history, that’s suggested here: Van Dyck emphatically poses Feilding’s Indian servant as a deferential inferior. If you are starting to dislike the 1st Earl of Denbigh, fear not, he was later to die, like so many of Van Dyck’s sitters, in the English civil war.
National Gallery, London
This article was amended on 16 August 2022 to note that Reframing Picton exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff goes on until 3 September 2023.
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