Lily Cole has a ball with Heathcliff and a Brit reinvents America – the week in art

The former supermodel fills in the foundling’s story, artists have fun with animals and a Lancashire boy blazes a trail across America – all in our weekly dispatch

Exhibition of the week

Lily Cole: Balls
A film about Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff, one of the most famous foundlings in literature, and how his fictional story resonates with the real lives of children who were left at London’s Foundling hospital in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Foundling Museum, London, until 2 December.

Also showing

Lucy Skaer
This sensitive, meandering epic of an exhibition finds infinite poetry in old images of ferns and seaweed that Skaer translates into sculpture.
Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, until 6 October.

Tacita Dean
The tragic weight of history and the inner spaces of the self haunt a powerful exhibition that mingles the painterly scrawls of Cy Twombly with a passion for cinema and found photographs.
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until 30 September.

Animals and Us
Tracey Emin, Joseph Beuys, JMW Turner and medieval manuscripts all feature in this enjoyable, sometimes moving survey of how artists engage with the animal world.
Turner Contemporary, Margate, until 30 September.

Thomas Cole
The invention of the American landscape as a space of possibility and mystery by an immigrant from Lancashire in the early 19th century is the theme of this lovely exhibition.
National Gallery, London, until 7 October.

Masterpiece of the week

The Dream of Saint Helena, circa 1570, by Paolo Veronese.
The Dream of Saint Helena, circa 1570, by Paolo Veronese. Photograph: National Gallery

The sensitive way artists in Renaissance Venice portrayed women is typified by this religious painting. Veronese’s model is posing as Helena, the mother of the ancient Roman emperor Constantine. She had a dream of the location of the True Cross and this most precious of relics turned out to be exactly where her vision told her it was. Veronese’s psychologically acute painting takes us inside her dream, to feel her religious passion and awe.

National Gallery, London.

Image of the week

Oxford rowers leap through a burning boat
Oxford rowers leap through a burning boat. Photograph: Dafydd Jones

“The winners of the Oxford University rowing race would set a boat on fire and then – after a long, boozy dinner – jump through the blaze arm in arm,” recalls photographer Dafydd Jones. Read the full interview.

What we learned

Gretchen Róehrs’ apartment is colourful and filled with plants

What the best commissioned photography in the Observer in July looks like

How skyscrapers could ruin Britain’s historic skylines

Why Mark Wallinger’s humorous take on the Icarus myth encourages us to jump

Ai Weiwei’s Beijing studio has been razed by the authorities

How camera tricks can add rainbows to a bleak winter landscape

Orson Welles’ artworks reveal a different side to the film-maker

The glamour of Manhattan is out of reach in Evelyn Hofer’s shot of 1960s Queens

How Rachel Maclean’s month as a Birmingham Bullring bunny took its toll

That artist Sonia Boyce’s cultural highlights include a Dominican cinematic gem

Why there is fresh doubt over a $450m Leonardo painting

What a feminist pop-up museum in San Francisco looks like

Two artists’ perspectives on Australia’s anti-Chinese goldfield riots of 1861

Why millions of Chinese people want to be ‘spiritually Finnish’

How artists are challenging US-Mexico border relations

How to bring out our inner artist

What on-trend summer buys from museum gift shops look like

Black Panthers photographer Neil Kenlock’s best years

Bodies in a Birmingham exhibition could be executed prisoners

What some of the artwork at the African Passions exhibition looks like

How Beyoncé’s Vogue cover helped photographer Tyler Mitchell make history

Don’t forget

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Contributor

Jonathan Jones

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