Voices

On a per capita basis, the nation has all the ingredients to be one of the world's most prosperous nations

View of a 'Miltonia' orchid

Caesar, the orchid chief

Turns out the early Romans were wild about orchids.

A visitor looks at Jan Van Eyck's Annunciation in Rotterdam

The Road to Van Eyck, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Don't miss this stupendous display of the works of a Flemish master who, at a stroke, invented oil painting and changed the course of art history

Sacked SocGen executive 'too good for his job' seeks £10m

A London banker who claims he was fired for being too good at his job for his employer to afford his salary was in the Supreme Court yesterday seeking compensation.

The ‘Dark Ages’ were a lot brighter than we give them credit for

We still view European history as taking off with the Renaissance and Enlightenment, but this position gets more out-of-date the more we learn

Choirs are magical - but should they be a social tool, too?

There's a risk that in using choirs for everything from helping fragmented communities to stress relief, we drag them down to the level of the mundane

Police are investigating after a painting by the great 20th century abstract artist Mark Rothko was defaced at the Tate Modern in London today.

Defaced Rothko: It could have been worse

The man who defaced Rothko's 1958 work 'Black on Maroon' now claims he has added value to the painting. While that's probably a bit of a stretch, his actions are certainly not the most outrageous example of vandalism in art history.

Archaeologists claim bones found in basement of Florentine convent belong to Leonardo’s Mona Lisa

The dig that may have unearthed Leonardo's muse

Archaeologists claim bones found in basement of Florentine convent belong to Leonardo's model

The News Matrix: Friday 28 September 2012

Emma considers 50 shades of stardom

Winckler's Wacky World: Deputy Dawg appointed

Mona Lisa's sister, bad (or maybe good?) news for aerophobics, driverless cars, a new element and a printable gun

The Isleworth Mona Lisa? Foundation claims Da Vinci's masterpiece had twin

A foundation says it will prove to the world today that Leonardo Da Vinci painted an earlier version of the Mona Lisa - a claim doubted by at least one expert on the multifaceted Renaissance artist.

Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies faces an uncertain existence as austerity begins to bite

As a further sign that Italy's priceless cultural heritage is under threat from stifling bureaucracy and government bean counters, one of the world's most important philosophy libraries is facing oblivion.

Simon Patterson: Under Cartel, Haunch of Venison, London

Patterson was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1996 for The Great Bear, a reworking of the London Tube map that substituted all the station names for that of celebrities, Old Masters and Chinese dissidents.

A point to prove: Guston's 'The Line' (1978)

When fingers point

Philip Guston's switch from abstract to figurative left critics and fans irate, but an exhibition of his work proves them wrong, argues Adrian Hamilton

Royal re-enactment helps put Parr back in the picture

Most people dread funerals – but next month you can attend a Queen Katherine Parr funeral re-enactment at Sudeley Castle for £45.

Damon Albarn and Blur warm up for Hyde Park at Maida Vale

Blur, Maida Vale Studio, London
Charlotte Church, Green Door Store, Brighton

If now's the time to assess Blur's place in the grand scheme, this was a reminder that they were always streets ahead of the monobrows

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas