Voices

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

Ready to Wear: McQueen’s aim was to make clothing that was anything but throwaway

Fashion has lost its greatest showman, a man who not only art directed the most memorable fashion experiences of the past 15 years and tirelessly pushed at the boundaries of technical innovation, but who was also a couturier in the traditional sense, always demonstrating a respect for handcraftsmanship and the art of dressmaking that was unrivalled.

Tom Lubbock: The more we see of his lifelike world the better

Circa 1300, Giotto was the next big thing. Dante mentions him in The Divine Comedy as the artist who now "has the cry". He was more than a trendsetter: he was an original of the most radical type. He began the whole tradition of European painting, transforming it from the flatness of the Greek-Byzantine icon to the rounded solidity of a Roman statue. Realism is the word.

Subtle changes at the V&A make a world of difference

A £31m revamp of 10 of its galleries has done wonders for the V&A, says Michael Glover

Observations: New Renaissance at the V&A

The V&A's new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, which take up a whole wing of the museum, will finally open on 2 December. Featuring the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, the Becket Casket, thought to have contained his relics, and dramatic Italian sculptures by Donatello, as well as Gothic altarpieces and 13th-century French stained glass windows this is the V&A's most extravagant project since the British Galleries opened in 2001. It has cost 30m.

Christ And The Adulteress (1508-10) Titian

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Life Inc., By Douglas Rushkoff

When faced with windy laments of decline, you can always rely on British popular culture to worm its antic way into your brain. Throughout this overstated thesis in praise of bottom-up community against top-down capitalism, I kept seeing and hearing the frightening visages of the BBC's The League of Gentlemen: "We're local people... doing local things." Unfair, I know. But Douglas Rushkoff is so infuriatingly magisterial that you reach, with some desperation, for the nearest court jester.

Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, By Andrew Graham-Dixon

Although others have debunked various myths about Michelangelo's painting of the Sistine Chapel (the most popular probably being the belief that he did it lying down), Graham-Dixon does no harm to his excellent, accessible but always intelligent telling of the story by repeating such myths for those who maybe haven't heard them.

Bought for just €2,000 – a Holbein masterpiece that is worth millions

When the dusty heirlooms and bric-a-brac of a once-stately French family went under the hammer at a minor auction eight years ago, an anonymous portrait of the Dutch scholar Erasmus sold for €2000 (£1,900).

Emin delivers petition for Titian

The artist Tracey Emin visited Downing Street yesterday to deliver a letter signed by Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, David Hockney and 37 other artists.

Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck To Titian, National Gallery, London

A portrait of Europe at its most magnificent

The Bellini Madonna By Elizabeth Lowry <p>The Bellini Card, By Jason Goodwin

Two novels, two very different brushes with an artistic MacGuffin

Mantegna, Andrea: Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1495)

The Independent's Great Art series

Signorelli, Luca: The Resurrection of the Flesh (c.1500)

The Independent's Great Art series

Jan Van Eyck and his wife reunited for Renaissance exhibition

Jan Van Eyck's self-portrait is one of the National Gallery's most familiar works. It shows a middle-aged man looking sternly out at the viewer. Now, after several centuries apart, the oil painting of the Renaissance painter is to be reunited with a portrait of his wife, Margaret.

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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
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One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
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The will of Helen Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, was among those to be archived
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The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
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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
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect