Exhibition of the week
Steve McQueen Year 3
Portraits of an entire generation of young Londoners – displayed on hundreds of billboards across the city – that foreground the future of Britain, just as it prepares to vote in a general election. Read more in this interview.
• Tate Britain, London, 12 November to 3 May.
Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece
A hi-tech exegesis of the most haunting painting in the entire National Gallery: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks.
• National Gallery, London, 9 November to 12 January.
A diverse international shortlist for this socially conscious prize exhibit photographs on the theme of Hope.
• V&A, London, 14 November to 8 December.
R2-D2 is in the building alongside the latest real-life droids in this exploration of science fiction and fact.
• V&A Dundee until 9 February.
If you crave more after his Royal Academy blockbuster, here it is.
• White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, 13 November to 18 January.
Image of the week
A bullet-hole in right side of Jesus is an “iconoclastic act”, says Lorna May Wadsworth. The celebrated portrait artist discovered the damage to her reworking of Leonardo’s Last Supper when her painting arrived in Sheffield for a retrospective of her work. “It really upsets me to think that someone was so aggrieved by my portrayal of Christ that they wanted to attack it,” said Wadsworth. Read more about this story.
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
The Young Schoolmistress, about 1737, by Jean-Siméon Chardin
The younger child’s face appears unformed in this image of education. Flabby and puffy, this child seems like a proto-person who will only take truly human shape by absorbing knowledge. Reading is central to that civilising process. The teacher looks more sharply defined, more of a person. She is a gentle teacher, a loving missionary to this infant savage. This painting is a perfect expression of the ideals of the Enlightenment, which, led by such thinkers as Voltaire and Diderot and taking its guiding light from Newton’s science, believed in redemption through reason. The apt pupil will grow up to read Rousseau, listen to Mozart and may live long enough to see reason die in the Jacobin Terror.
• National Gallery, London.
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