New Himid, old Hirst, Mandela’s window and impossible rollercoasters – the week in art


Exhibition of the week

Jesse Darling

Sprawling multifarious installations that mock social structures and systems of power.

• Modern Art Oxford from Saturday until 1 May

Also showing

Damien Hirst

The latest episode in Hirst’s year-long takeover of Gagosian’s gallery near King’s Cross brings together the animal vitrines that made him famous.

• Gagosian Britannia Street, London, from 10 March

AR Penck

Expressionist cartoon paintings by an artist who escaped East Germany and found fame in the west.

• White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, 9 March to 14 April

Lubaina Himid

New paintings by the Turner Prize winner that explore the nature of time.

• Hollybush Gardens, London, until 14 April

Jesse Darling, Gravity Road. Photograph: Marc Doradzillo/Courtesy of the artist

Virtual Veronese

An experiment in bringing the lost contexts of Renaissance art to life in VR, if you’re sick of just seeing paintings in the National Gallery.

• National Gallery, London, 7 March to 3 April

Image of the week

See main image above. My Robben Island, five signed artworks Nelson Mandela made after his imprisonment there, will be made available as a limited run of NFTs next week, along with a handwritten text that explains Mandela’s visualisation of the harsh island prison. They will be sold over a six-hour period on 9 March, at $3,495 (£2,620) for the collection, or $699 (£525) for an individual work. There is no set number for sale, although there is an upper limit of 10,000. “However many are sold in that six-hour window is the edition,” said Bonhams’ Giles Peppiatt.

What we learned

Masterpiece of the week

Photograph: The National Gallery, London

Portrait of a Young Man by Andrea del Sarto, 1517-18

Books are symbols of the inner life. They make you look serious and thoughtful. But this youth is not just a poseur in a bookshop. He seems genuinely engrossed in the volume he’s reading and annoyed to be disturbed. There’s a different kind of passion in his gaze, too. The person who has come in the room matters to him. He reluctantly tears himself out of his reading into his immediate surroundings and relationships. To create this subtle psychological moment Andrea del Sarto shows him from the side, with a fine silk sleeve towards us, turning his head as if suddenly. It’s not just a portrait but a piece of silent theatre that leaves you guessing who he is, what he was reading – and who he holds in those intense eyes.

• National Gallery, London

Don’t forget

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