Exhibition of the week
On Your Face: Queer Reflections
A queer takeover that deconstructs this gallery’s “largely heteronormative” collection and opens new ways of seeing art.
Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea, until 18 September
Trenchant, memorable abstract paintings by Scotland’s answer to Jackson Pollock.
Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, until 24 September
Known and Strange
Surrealistic contemporary photographs by artists including Dafna Talmor, Mitch Epstein and Maurizio Anzeri.
V&A, London, until 6 November
The Woodpecking Factory
A close look at Victorian wood engravers the Brothers Dalziel, who helped the pre-Raphaelites reach a wide audience.
British Museum, London, until 4 September
Image of the week
These clay heads by Daria Koltsova are part of The Captured House, an exhibition of the work of around 50 Ukrainian artists, all made during and about the war. Koltsova escaped via Moldova to to Palermo, where she began making a head for each Ukrainian child whose death made the news. The exhibition has opened in Brussels and intends to tour globally as part of a Ukrainian diplomacy drive. Read the full story here.
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
St Jerome in Penitence, c 1534-45, by Sodoma
The Renaissance artist Giovanni Antonio Bazzi got his nickname Il Sodoma because he was said to be a “sodomite”. There were no equivalents in pre-modern language for terms such as gay or queer. Homosexuality was equated with the mortal sin of sodomy and yet, in Italy at least, there was leeway for alternative sexualities. Leonardo da Vinci was accused of sodomy but let off, and rumoured to love his assistants. As it happens, there are echoes of the Tuscan polymath in this painting: Leonardo, too, had portrayed a naked ascetic Jerome. There’s no proof Sodoma was gay but this muscular painting does have a deep feeling for the male form, and the very fact an artist could get such a reputation without it hurting his career is telling about the openness of Renaissance Italy.
National Gallery, London.
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