The Sistine Chapel in a council house – the week in art

The Sistine Chapel in a council house – the week in art

- in Art Gallery, Exhibitions, Inspiration Art

Meet the outsider artists who have transformed their homes into masterpieces, and see the super slides that are about to take over the art world. Plus the Manchester street scene that went viral, and much more – all in your weekly art dispatch.

Exhibition of the week

I Am Van Dyck
So who was Anthony van Dyck? This 17th-century Flemish painter who died in Britain as the civil war started is a strangely elusive figure. The most brilliant pupil of Rubens and one of the great technical masters of all time, he seems to have been happy to ply his trade as a portraitist of the cavalier aristocracy in Charles I’s England. Some of his portraits have a startling truthfulness – and that goes for his celebrated last self-portrait, which is scrutinised in this show alongside self-portraits by Turner prize-winner Mark Wallinger. Is Van Dyck, then, the true father of modern British art?

Other exhibitions this week
Champagne Life, 2014, by Julia Wachtel.
Champagne Life, 2014, by Julia Wachtel. Photograph: Saatchi Gallery

Champagne Life
Fourteen women from around the world show works that range from photorealist paintings to massive clay cows, in an exhibition that aims to upset male domination of the art market.
• Saatchi Gallery, London, 13 January-6 March.

Annie Leibovitz
Portraits of women now by the brilliant photographer, whose work has spanned Hollywood glamour and modern war. Leibovitz’s new pictures are touring the world, starting in London this week, and survey the lives of contemporary women.
• Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, London, 16 January-7 February.

Tim Stoner
New paintings by this engaging and idiosyncratic artist.
• Modern Art, London, 15 January-13 February.

Park Seo-Bo
The Korean artist strives for a minimal emptiness rooted in eastern aesthetic ideals.
• White Cube Mason’s Yard, 15 January-12 March.

What a body. The glorious corpulent flesh of Silenus slops all over this mighty painting with an abandon that mixes classical myth (Silenus is the companion of the wine god Bacchus) with north European carnival traditions. Painted in the studio of Rubens and ripe with his rollicking approach to high art, it may be mostly the work of the young Van Dyck, but the grapes are by nature artist Frans Snyders. Alcohol warnings? What alcohol warnings?
• National Gallery, London.

What we learned this week

What the most unmissable art and design exhibitions for 2016 are

Meet the outsider artists who have turned their homes into masterpieces

After 30 years, the Saatchi gallery will have its first all-female show

That an image of New Year’s mayhem in Manchester went viral for resembling a ‘beautiful painting’

But is it really Sistine perfection – or just a pissed-up Manchester street scene?

The astonishing real-life story that led an artist to take empowering portraits of domestic violence survivors …

And how inspiring those portraits are … ‘I have never felt more beautiful’: domestic violence survivors – in pictures

John Akomfrah’s views on the refugee crisis: ‘I haven’t destroyed this country. There’s no reason other immigrants would’

Waiting to die: inside the Iranian prison where child inmates face execution

What the 10 best concrete buildings are

A wholesale power grab: how the UK government is handing housing over to private developers

Have I got nudes for you: Emer O’Toole on the art of being naked

That super slides are the slippery slope into art’s babyish new era

Blockbusters: how an artist called Rutherford Chang became the second best Tetris player in the world

Step into Silicon Forest, Putin’s secret weapon in the global tech race

That the controversial artist Richard Prince has been sued (again) for copyright infringement

How Velázquez gave Laura Cumming consolation in grief – and set her on the trail of a lost portrait

About the extraordinary life of Paz Errázuriz: the woman who dared to defy the Pinochet regime

That ORLAN’s best shot is a striptease in the style of Botticelli

That the curator of “show of the decade” Goya exhibition is preparing a poignant farewell

And finally …

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