Arts and Entertainment Katherine Jenkins performs at Epsom in June 2012

Cultural Life: The singer on her favourite music, film, tv and theatre picks

Poussin: the enigma exposed

In the 330 years since his death, the celebrated 17th-century French artist Nicolas Poussin has been claimed as their own by art historians, intellectuals and artists alike. But the artist remains an enigma. Was he the peintre philosophe suggested by Anthony Blunt, the sensual painter of other scholars or, as more eccentric thought would have it, the key figure in an understanding of long-forgotten arcane mysteries? The Royal Academy's spectacular retrospective of his work will allow you to judge for yourself. Transferred from a successful run in Paris, the exhibition represents only the second time ever (the first was in 1960) that all of Poussin's major paintings will have been seen together. The effect is breathtaking: a stately progress thro ugh the artist's career, from the sombre chiaroscuro and savage subject-matter of the early years, through the pale luminosity of the "blond" period, to the triumph of the two sets of Sacraments and the late, proto-Romantic landscapes. In subject-matter, colour and form he is one of the most fascinating figures in the history of western art. His very ambiguity is the clue to his genius. This is a unique opportunity, not to be missed.

Letter: Boardroom boffins

Sir: Accountants still overwhelm the boardroom, reports James Bethell ('Boys on boards hang on to their bastion', 24 October); more than two-thirds of company directors have passed accountancy exams.

'The Painted Page' at the Royal Academy

'The Painted Page', at the Royal Academy, promises to be one of the most beautiful and absorbing exhibitions of the year. Drawn from several of the world's greatest libraries, the books may be said to illustrate, in miniature, the richness and complexity of Renaissance Italy.

ART EXHIBITIONS / XX things you didn't know: The title of the Royal Academy's latest historical survey suggests something small, obscure, perhaps dull, and certainly Belgian. In fact, it's the best show of its kind at the Academy in years

THE ONE person in the Royal Academy who combines taste and art- historical knowledge is MaryAnne Stevens, the RA's Librarian and an authority on late-19th-century art. She has selected 'Impressionism to Symbolism: the Belgian Avant- Garde 1880-1900', and it's the most successful historical exhibition at the Academy for years. The subject may seem rather recondite, but Stevens's perfectly judged survey (which fills the Sackler galleries) convinces us that this fin de siecle movement has been wrongly neglected.

Architecture Update: Walks on the esoteric side

THE SERIES of half-day tours of London buildings organised by Architectural Dialogue has been extended to include visits to less familiar ones. The current programme includes the work of Lord Burlington and William Kent, Georgian London, Hi- tech London and Docklands. Each tour is led by a practicing architect or architectural historian who claim to be able to explain architecture in plain English and are ready to answer questions.

ART / All on a summer day: Anyone for a Pimms? Iain Gale invites an art dealer, a curator, an artist and an architect to the 226th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London

There's a lot of mediocrity here.' We're just two rooms into the 226th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and already one of my companions, the art dealer Offer Waterman, is expressing disappointment. While, to the Victorians, the Summer Exhibition was the bench-mark of contemporary art, it has gradually become little more than a date in the London season. Or has it? 'A unique chance to see the whole range of contemporary art in one place,' trumpeted this year's press release. To test the claim I've persuaded Waterman and three others - a curator, an artist and an architect - to take on the marathon of viewing 1,000 works in 14 galleries.

Subjective art fails to unite show's hanging judges: Fifteen Royal Academy experts cannot reach unanimity on one work. David Lister reports

NOT ONE of the 13,000 paintings and sculptures submitted for this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition succeeded in pleasing all 15 judges on the academy's hanging committee.

How We Met: James Blades and Evelyn Glennie

James Blades, OBE, born in Peterborough in 1901, began his musical career playing in orchestras for silent films, before joining the London Symphony Orchestra. He became professor of timpani and percussion at the Royal Academy of Music in 1960. Now retired, he lives with his wife, Joan, in Surrey.

EXHIBITIONS / Critic's Choice

Beyond Belief

Where shall we meet?: The Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, W1 (071-493 8181)

While the anti-fur protesters rage outside, the Ritz's pillared, fountained Palm Court is an oasis of serenity. Remember to wear your good clothes (no jeans). Tea, served daily, at 3.00pm and 4.30pm, generally needs to be booked and costs pounds 14.50 a head, with a good deal of white-gloved grandeur thrown in free. Alternatively, nurse a Bloody Mary and a bowl of divine mixed nuts in the bar, a scattering of tables and spindly sofas in the vaulted hall, and watch the world and his mistress waltz by. Bar prices are on par with the rest of Mayfair; the ambience is pure, if discreet, hedonism. Within five minutes' walking distance are the Royal Academy, Fortnum and Mason and the Criterion Theatre.

Royal Academy selection committee

Royal Academy students displaying paintings yesterday before the summer exhibition selection committee. The judges were making their choices for this year's show, which opens on 5 June. Last year the exhibition attracted 13,210 entries, of which 1,798 were chosen.

Royal Academy entries

Marisa Lintlin-Masters arrives at the Royal Academy, London, with the portrait entered by her daughter for the summer exhibition.

ART / Always check the small prints: Revised, copied and faked, original prints by Old Masters are difficult to spot. Which, says Dalya Alberge, is part of their appeal

There are Rembrandt prints and there are Rembrandt prints. The rarest were printed by the 17th-century master himself, but some were run off by his workshop, some by other printers. Centuries later others were run off from the original plates, still more were printed from plates made by copyists copying Rembrandt images. That's not to mention the photo-mechanical reproductions.

Arts: On the one hand, but on the other . . .: Juliet Wilson-Bareau selected 87 paintings by Goya for the Royal Academy. That she rejected many more may alarm a number of museums and private collectors. Dalya Alberge reports

Juliet Wilson-Bareau, curator of the Goya show at the RA, inspecting the sketch for Autumn, 1786, whose attribution had long been doubted; some said it was a fake - partly because it had not been sold with related works in the 1890s. But, convinced it was an original, Wilson-Bareau tracked the painting down to an American collection in Williamstown, Massachusetts and proved, through a mass of graphite underdrawing, that this was indeed a Goya. It is one of several Goyas whose attributions she has confirmed. 'Where there is vigorous underdrawing underneath,' she says, 'you can be sure there was a vigorous painter at the back of it' Photograph: Nicholas Turpin

ARTS / Competition: Win tickets and catalogues to the Royal Academy's show from the Ortiz collection

It is not often that the person behind an exhibition receives fan letters from the public, but George Ortiz, the collector whose ancient artefacts are pulling the crowds at the Royal Academy, has received over a dozen. Attendance figures at the exhibition are currently averaging 1,300 a day. To celebrate, the RA is offering five pairs of tickets and five catalogues to the first five Independent readers to answer the following three questions, set by Ortiz himself:
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A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
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