John Banville tackles perhaps the gallery’s most famous piece, Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ (1602). His meticulous, erudite account somehow makes us see an overly familiar masterpiece anew.

In 1944 George Bernard Shaw wrote from England to Thomas Bodkin, a former director of the National Gallery of Ireland, to ask whether the institution (...)

Women in the Garden: Claude Monet’s painting, seen here in detail, is dominated by the meticulously re-created summer dresses, with their high-waisted bodices and voluminous crinoline skirts. Photograph: Musée d’Orsay

It seems too much the result of the marketing department’s fantasies. With the possible exception of Sex, Violence(...)