Ai-Da: Portrait of the Robot
Enter the uncanny valley with this realistic humanoid robot who can draw “herself”. Is that art? So what is art? Plenty to think about. Read more.
Design Museum, London until 29 August
There’s enough beauty here to fill several exhibitions – but this trip through 5,000 years of cultural history works because of the sheer quality of the exhibits. An eye-opener. Read our five-star review.
V&A, London, 29 May-12 September
Royal Portraits: From Tudors to Windsors
We seem as fascinated by the monarchy as ever, one way or another. This exhibition reveals how the images of British royals have been shaped since the Renaissance.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 28 May-31 October
Conversations With God
A free exhibition about the 19th-century Polish artist Jan Matejko’s history painting of the revolutionary astronomer Copernicus, this is the first time the National Gallery has ever shown Polish art.
National Gallery, London, until 22 August
Nero: The Man Behind the Myth
Some wonderful things here, from statues of Nero and other members of the imperial family to Pompeiian frescoes, whatever you think of the exhibition’s thesis that Nero was not the monster history has made of him. Read more.
British Museum, London, until 24 October.
An enormous space rocket could be next up on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth – or a Ghanaian grain silo, a bobbly man, a giant jewellery tree, missionaries in Africa, or a memorial to murdered transgender women. Six shortlisted ideas have been unveiled at London’s National Gallery for the sculpture commission, which rotates normally every 18 months, and the public can help pick two winners, to be installed in 2022 and 2024.
The Abbé Scaglia adoring the Virgin and Child, 1634-35, by Anthony van Dyck
Two centuries of Flemish art lie behind this emotional encounter between a man and the mother of God. Van Dyck portrayed his patron Scaglia for a church in Antwerp, putting his fretful and careworn praying presence in a direct and intimate reciprocal relationship with Mary and Jesus. It’s a move that epitomises the passionate, unbuttoned baroque style that flourished in 17th-century Catholic Europe. Yet it is also a nod to Van Dyck’s local Flemish forerunners; 200 years earlier, Jan van Eyck was painting wealthy people in similar close encounters with the Virgin, including in his great Madonna of Chancellor Rolin in the Louvre. Van Dyck updates the genre with a waft of Baroque silks and a breath of sky.
National Gallery, London
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