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Caro at Chatsworth, Gillian Wearing and Michael Canning – the week in art

Sculptor Anthony Caro puts together a tasteful show amid Chatsworth House's stupendous gardens, as Wearing lands at Whitechapel Gallery – all in your favourite art dispatch

Exhibition of the week: Caro at Chatsworth

I'll be looking at this exhibition in depth in a Guardian video to be launched next week, so I won't anticipate. I'll simply say that anyone anywhere near the beautiful countryside of Derbyshire this spring should take the chance to see this exhibition, not least for its stupendous setting. Chatsworth is one step beyond other stately homes. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire and an aristocratic dynasty that goes back to Tudor times, the house has a history that includes such figures as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and today's dowager duchess, Deborah Mitford. Famous characters aside, it's a jaw-dropping wonderland set in a superb landscape that was sculpted especially to show it off by no less a designer than Capability Brown. Now I see what was so capable about him. The gardens surrounding the house are a magical blend of rococo fantasy – including the Cascade, a fast-flowing river carved by hand in a hillside on top of which is a lake created to power the park's waterworks – and the 19th-century garden engineering of Joseph Paxton. The Rockery is made of gigantic boulders in genuinely terrifying arrangements, with a full-scale waterfall: a sublime landscape rather than a gentle feature. Nearby, a colossal fountain soars up from a lake around which the sculptor Anthony Caro shows this well-selected and artfully positioned survey of his works from the 1960s to this decade. They frame views of classical statues and the newly restored facade of the house itself. Caro's exhibition sets off the strange and prodigious art of Chatsworth's gardens.

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, from 28 March until 1 July

Also opening

Gillian Wearing
There was always a humane wit and poetic realism about Wearing that made her early work hugely attractive. How good does she look now?
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 28 March until 17 June

Printed in Norfolk: Coracle Publications
Artists' books by Gustav Metzger and Kurt Schwitters and the work of artist poet Ian Hamilton Finlay feature in this retrospective of an important small press.
The Gallery at Nuca, until 21 April

Michael Canning
Eerie and surreally beautiful modern flower paintings whose precision paradoxically leaves everything uncertain.
Waterhouse & Dodd, London, until 20 April

Secret Egypt
Want to know where the archaeology of Egypt ends and modern myth begins? Find out the facts behind the Hammer films, and while you are here check out a superb permanent collection of Roman antiquities.
Tullie House, Carlisle, until 10 June

Masterpiece of the week

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Madame Moitessier, 1856
The reflection of Madame Moitessier in a mirror behind her transforms this painting from a simple portrait into a reflection on the nature of beauty. For Ingres, beauty is eternal and unchanging. It is the source – the essential truth of life. He is a classicist who believes in the perfection of an ancient Greek ideal of beauty, reflected in the proportions of temples and the harmonies of music. In the philosophy of Plato, this ideal truth is not carnal but intangible. The world of the mirror in Ingres's painting is like the philosophical utopia of Plato: in that perfect place beyond the glass, forms are pure and true, and the stilled beauty of Madame Moitessier is set free from everyday bourgeois life to be revealed as something absolute. Ingres dwells on this woman's beauty not just as a random accident of good looks, but a revelation of the underlying order of the universe. Nothing could contrast more with the impressionists who, soon, would plunge French art into the randomness of the everyday.
National Gallery, London

Image of the week

What we learned this week

How to sketch a David Cameron caricature

How great your art is

Whether tiffs ensue when artist sweethearts join forces

That violent LS Lowry robbers have been jailed

Exactly what the start of spring looks like


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Farshid Moussavi will be in conversation with Rowan Moore at the Guardian's Open Weekend. Find out more and book tickets here. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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