Top 10: exhibitions

Vermeer and the Delft School (National Gallery, 2001)

The highlight was 13 Vermeer paintings - each mobbed by a scrum of fans - retaining all their unreachable calm.


Caravaggio: the Final Years (National Gallery, 2005)

An awesome insight into the original outlaw artist, in work made while on the run from a murder charge.


Steve McQueen: Queen and Country (Art Fund, touring from 2004)

Brought home the indelible reality of Blair's war in Iraq, at a time when no one seemed to be looking.


Terracotta Army (British Museum, 2007)

An unforgettable, and timely, glimpse of the birth of Chinese power.


Louise Bourgeois (Tate Modern, 2007)

A lifetime woven with unfailing vision.


Peter Doig (Tate Britain, 2008)

Entrancing alienation from the most affecting painter of his generation.


Matisse-Picasso (Tate Modern, 2002)

Whose side were you on? The old sparring partners in the ultimate rematch.


Mark Wallinger: State Britain (Tate Britain, 2007)

The Parliament Square peace protest brought in, pointedly, from the cold.


Gregor Schneider: Die Familie Schneider (Artangel, 2004)

Deeply unnerving secrets from behind the net curtains of twin houses in the East End.


Olafur Eliasson: the Weather Project (Tate Modern, 2003)

He made Waterloo-sunset worshippers of us all, for an afternoon or three.

This article first appeared in the 14 December 2009 issue of the New Statesman, The Muslim Jesus