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
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee