Observations: Annie Kevans - There's more to these faces than meets the eye

Annie Kevans has an eye for what makes an eye-catching portrait. Her oil-on-paper likenesses look simple, almost childlike, but they come with a sting in the tail. The 36-year-old artist began painting in her final year at St Martin's with Boys, a set of pictures of dictators as children – a blue-eyed Hitler in a simple brown jacket, a wan Franco, a petulant Pol Pot. "People think it's a bit naff, really cutesy and then, oof, it's Hitler."

The Diary: Banksy, Ed Vaizey, Spandex, Van Goghs, and Gurinder Chadha

Guerilla wallfare becomes a big draw

Banksy's latest "guerilla" graffiti has been graffitied over and the wall on which the offending vandals struck removed from public view in order to "restore" Banksy's original piece of art/vandalism. An ironic outcome, which will no doubt reignite the debate on whether Banksy has become part of the "establishment".

Van Gogh's Letters: The Artist Speaks, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam<br/>The Arts of Islam, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

Van Gogh was a prolific letter writer who illustrated his correspondence with sketches for fully-fledged pictures still to come

'I thought of drawing a square': British art's biggest names reveal the work that set them on the road to fame

From Grayson Perry's first piece of pottery to Antony Gormley's breakthrough body cast... the biggest names in British art reveal the work that set them on the road to fame while, below, Michael Glover looks at the earliest efforts of some of the world's greatest artists

Vincent van Gogh: the complete letters, Edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luitjen and Nienke Bakker

Born into a Protestant clergyman's family, his childhood steeped in Good Book and the liturgy, this turbulent young visionary in search of a sacred vocation dives early into literature and never wants to surface. Charles Dickens becomes a lifelong friend; George Eliot a touchstone of his reverence for working folk. Though the language of the Bible guides his thoughts and shapes his style, he swims happily in the classic poetry of French, English and his native tongue. As for Victorian illustrated magazines, he loves them so much he wants to find a job with one.

Great Works: Early Morning (1825), Samuel Palmer

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Matt Stevens and Lee Mears: Coffee and sympathy all round in ballad of the sad café

As Bath's forward adapts to life outside rugby he finds his business with former team-mate Mears and Brazilian Jujitsu are proving good props in rehabilitation. Hugh Godwin speaks to Matt Stevens and Lee Mears

Juliet, Naked, By Nick Hornby

Compassionate comeback for the tracker of our tears

Consuming Issues: Free &ndash; and easy &ndash; summer holidays

Despite all the entreaties to lavish money on smart phones and Thai spa breaks, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy yourself without opening your wallet. While the summer holidays – and the recession – are in full swing, here are some free ideas:

My Secret Life: Maggi Hambling, artist, 63

My parents were ... complicated, snobbish, sexually ambivalent. I've forgiven them, as they forgave me. Life is too short.

Alice Jones: The messy climax of confessional art

No feeling or whim is now too trivial to be immortalised in oil or pencil

I Bet You Think This Song is About You...

Open letters to lost lovers, dark hints at lust for friends' wives, or selected because they offer opportunites for a rhyme? Ben Walsh delves into the tunes that name names ...

Powerful pigments: An exhibition dedicated to colour

Tate Liverpool's latest exhibition dedicated to colour is dazzling. But they could have thrown even more into the mix, says Tom Lubbock

Tom Sutcliffe: To hell with art, look at that brawl

The Week In Culture

Was truth the biggest casualty in the case of Vincent and his severed ear?

It wasn't self-mutilation &ndash; and Gauguin was to blame, say German art historians
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before