Exhibition of the week
The forests of Guatemala inspire Suter’s earthy and rain-marked paintings.
• Tate Liverpool until 15 March.
Photographs taken by visitors over the last 150 years tell the story of our relationship with Britain’s most famous Neolithic monument.
• Stonehenge, Wiltshire, until August.
Scotland’s Photograph Album
The social history of Scotland in the 19th and early 20th centuries as seen by pioneers of photography, including Julia Margaret Cameron and Roger Fenton.
• Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until 16 February.
Need a meditative break from all the stuff going on, political or seasonal? This video installation of a slow dance by the sea may do the trick.
• The Tanks, Tate Modern, London, 14 December to 2 February.
An art-school perspective on the history of the Turner prize, featuring Helen Chadwick, Jeremy Deller and more.
• Lethaby Gallery, University of the Arts London, until 22 January.
Image of the week
A new artwork by Banksy appeared in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The anonymous street artist’s Christmas creation combined jolly sentiment with genuine compassion in a way that would make Charles Dickens tingle all over. A team of reindeer painted on a wall, pulling a bench that homeless people use as a bed, was rightly popular. Within hours, it had been embellished with Rudolfian red noses.
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
Narcissus by a follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, circa 1500
Lavish attention has been paid to Leonardo da Vinci in his 500th anniversary year, but this painting highlights his private life in ways you might not guess from exhibitions of his religious paintings. It’s ascribed to a follower of his follower, Boltraffio, but really it’s a homage to Leonardo himself. It apes his sweet and soft style and hints heavily at his homosexuality, which was gossiped about by his first biographer Vasari in 1550 and is directly evinced by two accusations of “sodomy” against him in the archives of Florence. Vasari says that Leonardo loved young men with long curly hair, just like this youth. Narcissus is fascinated by male beauty – his own. In Greek myth, he couldn’t stop gazing at his own reflection. Like Caravaggio later, this artist uses the dreamy looks and looking of Narcissus as a metaphor for gay desire. This is not the only such painting from the school of Leonardo, and it may mean that his followers saw themselves as a sexual as well as an artistic subculture.
• National Gallery, London.
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