Siberian warriors and a Christmas cracker of surrealist fun – the week in art
Exhibition of the week
Whales: Beneath the Surface This moving and absorbing encounter with some of the most intelligent and sensitive creatures on Earth is a must for anyone who enjoyed Blue Planet II. • Natural History Museum, London, until 28 February.
Scythians Winter has come, and this fascinating trip to the raw and violent Game of Thrones world of Siberia’s ancient nomads is a seasonal chiller. • British Museum, London, until 14 January.
Opera: Passion, Power and Politics Explore the glamour and poetry of Europe’s strangest multimedia art form, which was invented in the Renaissance and became the unlikely bearer of modern ideas in the age of Wagner. • Victoria and Albert Museum, London, until 25 February.
The Adoration of the Kings, 1506-07, Giorgione There is a joyous openness of design and flow of figures in this heartfelt Venetian Renaissance depiction of the Magi revering the child, whose birth they saw announced by a new star in the sky. Giorgione emphasises the colourful, tight-fitting costumes of the young soldiers who accompanied the kings on their journey, the statuesque anatomy of their horses, the melancholy isolation of Joseph, the gentle animals witnessing this moment of revelation. It is a human, social scene set alight by this great artist’s subtle contrasts of bright colour and more elusive tones of softness and shadow. • National Gallery, London.
Image of the week
Chopped Hand, 2017, by Peter Doig The paintings in Doig’s new exhibition have the ghostly stillness of Giorgio de Chirico’s empty piazzas frozen in time. The world he paints glows with an inner fire, an ecstatic vision. • Read the full review.