Michelangelo Caravaggio

Film review: The Great Beauty (15)

From its delirious opening montage of disco divas, ageing socialites and strippers at play – one imagines Berlusconi's bunga bunga in a nutshell – Paolo Sorrentino's Roman satire has its sights fixed on epic greatness. There's a touch of La Dolce Vita in its fluid portrait of the city as carnival, with its parade of nuns, tourists, freaks, hangers-on, performance artists and other jokers. It is overseen by the dapper, disenchanted Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a journalist who once wrote a great novel but is now more famous for his roof-terrace parties and languid cynicism. The haute bourgeoisie circles Jep moves in turn a blind eye and a Botoxed pout to the depressed, debased society around them, preferring to dance themselves dizzy and drink themselves silly. (Sample dialogue: "What job do you do?" "Me? I'm rich". "Great job"). Nor is there any recourse to religion when Vatican prelates offer not spiritual succour but top cooking tips.

My Secret Life: Derek Deane, choreographer, 57

My parents were... very kind people. My father was in the RAF and my mother trained as a nurse. I had a very distant relationship with them, though, mostly because of their work commitments.

Where all roads lead to the dome

City Slicker: Florence - A new flight makes it easier to reach the city of the Medicis. Kate Simon has some tips for new and returning visitors

Jack Vettriano: The poster boy of popular art

He's been accused of plagiarism, painting by numbers and shameless commercialism, yet Jack Vettriano has still managed to produce the most recognisable, and popular, art work of the last 20 years with The Singing Butler. It hasn't made him happy, though, he tells Alice Jones

The Duchess of Malfi, Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Two corrupt brothers, a cardinal and a madman, prevent their sister, a widow, from remarrying by torturing and then killing her. The briefest summary of John Webster's Jacobean shocker never does justice to its genius and vivacity, but Laurie Sansom's imaginative revival does.

What makes a masterpiece?

Five experts explore the genius behind some of the world's greatest works of art, from Sri Lanka's reclining Buddha to Caravaggio's momentous supper

Caravaggio's Friends & Foes, Whitfield Fine Art, London

In the 400th anniversary year of Caravaggio's death, we have been presented with several ways to know the painter, or to know the man. Those lucky enough to visit Rome recently may have seen a huge exhibition of major works by the artist. Star archaeologists have claimed, within the last few months, to have found the artist's bones, and more, have speculated that they contain lead, attributing his death to his lead-based paints. The British art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon has just published his biography of the artist– a labour of 10 years' work – refuting this thesis.

Life is what you make in it

You don't need to be an artist to produce something special, says Jeanette Winterson. As a new craft exhibition opens in London, she urges us all to be more creative

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48 Hours In: Rome

Italy's capital is easy to reach and hard to leave, with a wealth of antiquity, plus great gastronomy.