Arts and Entertainment Rome sweet Rome: Tony Servillo in 'The Great Beauty'

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.

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

Great Works: St Augustine In His Study (c.1502), Vittore Carpaccio

Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice/The Bridgeman Art Library

Raphael: Stitches in the fabric of time

A new show unites Raphael's designs and the tapestries based on them for the first time since they were commissioned for the Sistine Chapel. By Michael Glover

David Hockney: A man aflame – and long before the smoking ban

Iconic artist, evangelical smoker and avid technophile, the boy from the Broad Acres looks forward to a new season at Glyndebourne. Michael Church meets David Hockney

Vatican unveils 'new Caravaggio' – but art experts say it's an impostor

Art officials yesterday unveiled the painting at the centre of the latest Caravaggio mystery, after the Vatican newspaper first suggested – and then denied – that the canvas was the work of the Italian master.

400 years after his death, Caravaggio work is found

Art experts in Rome are analysing what they believe is a previously unknown painting by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio.

Great Works: The Risen Christ (c1532), Michelangelo

The Royal Collection, London

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.

The decline of Britain’s public museums

We queue for blockbuster exhibitions while museums and galleries neglect their core collections. It's a cultural catastrophe, argues Adrian Hamilton

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

After 400 years, secret of Caravaggio's death may be solved at last

Italian researchers believe they have found the remains of Caravaggio, but 400 years later some of the mysteries surrounding the death of the master artist may never be solved.

Great Works: Penitent St Jerome (1628-30) by Georges de la Tour

National Museum, Stockholm

Avigdor Arikha: Artist and scholar who sought to capture existential truths in the everyday

The apparent simplicity of the representational paintings, drawings and prints made by Avigdor Arikha over the last four decades of his life masked a rare sophistication and visual intelligence that bridged the modernist avant-garde of pure abstraction with traditions of observational drawing and painting stretching back to the Renaissance and beyond. He was truculently insistent that he was not part of any "return to figuration", but rather had found his own way as "a post-abstract representational artist".

Beauty and Power: The Peter Marino Collection, Wallace Collection, London

This tiny exhibition may lack the Renaissance A-listers, but it spans the short, unsteady step to the Baroque with convincing panache
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