Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s enigmatic figures, sensational seeds and a heavyweight four-way face off – the week in art

Exhibition of the week

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Impeccable and fascinating paintings that create mystery and leave you haunted, like the covers of novels that are yet to be written.
Tate Britain, London, until 26 February.

Also showing

Friends and Relations
Four great painters – Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud and Michael Andrews – rival each other to paint the unvarnished truth.
Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, London, until 28 January.

Tony Swain: Sight Deserted
Part collage, part painting, Swain’s art has a ruinous tatty grandeur.
Modern Institute, Glasgow, until 14 January.

Fugitive Seeds
The colonial symbolism of botany is teased out by Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Minji Choi and more.
CCA, Derry, until 21 December.

Artists Making Books: Poetry to Politics
Artists’ books and bibliophile interventions from the contemporary Middle East including Kareem Risan’s meditation on an explosion in Baghdad.
British Museum, London, until 17 September.

Image of the week

Martin Parr visited Athens in 1991. Prints from his shoot there became water-damaged and he has now scanned them digitally to produce a series he has called Acropolis Now. “I initially panicked when I realised my prints had got damaged by a leak in my office,” Parr says. “However, I thought, these look interesting. In fact, to be brutally honest, they were better than the originals.” See the gallery here.

What we learned

Art has tackled football

Architect Daniel Libeskind has joined the fight to save Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn in Cumbria

John Betjeman’s campaign to save Liverpool Street station in London is being revived

A convoy of Ukrainian modern art made a daring journey to Madrid

A new exhibition captures the primal paradise of Sussex

British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu’s invitation to “shamanic journeys” has won the Jarman award

An artist is campaigning to have a mountain renamed

The Parthenon has been created in dazzling colour

Zanele Muholi is rewriting South Africa’s Black queer and trans visual history

The surrealists would have made a fun fantasy football team

An artificial intelligence thinks a contested portrait is probably a Renoir

Masterpiece of the week

Head of a Woman, c 1475, by Andrea del Verrocchio
Looking at this delicate vision of a young woman it’s easy to guess that Verrocchio was Leonardo da Vinci’s teacher. The intricacy of her hairstyle was still echoing in Leonardo’s art in the early 1500s when he drew similarly entwined locks in his sketches of Leda and the Swan. There’s also a realism to Verrocchio’s drawing that has a lot in common with Leonardo’s youthful portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, which was done around the same time as this study: while at first sight it’s easy to call Verrocchio’s portrayal “idealised”, he actually shades her features with fleshy truthfulness, and hints at the inner life. This is reminiscent of Botticelli, who was also starting to depict women with intense poetry at this time. In short, this is a jewel of Renaissance Florentine art and its adoration of women.
British Museum, London

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