Biography

Elected to the Academy as the Professor of History.

 

Martin Kemp was trained in Natural Sciences and Art History at Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute, London. His books include The Science of Art. Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (Yale), and The Human Animal in Western Art and Science (Chicago). He has published and broadcast extensively on Leonardo da Vinci, including the prize-winning Leonardo da Vinci. The marvellous works of nature and man, and Leonardo (both Oxford). His Christ to Coke. How image becomes icon (Oxford) looks at 11 representatives of types of icons across a wide range of public imagery. He wrote regularly for Nature, his essays for which have been published as Visualizations and developed in Seen and Unseen (both Oxford) in which his concept of “structural intuitions” is explored. More recently he has published Art in History (Profile Books and Structural Intuitions. Seeing Shapes in Art and Science (Virginia). His new book is Heavenly Visions. Dante and the Art of Divine Light’.

 

He has been a Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland, The Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum. He has curated and co-curated a series of exhibitions on Leonardo and other themes, including Spectacular Bodies at the Hayward Gallery in London, Leonardo da Vinci. Experience, Experiment, Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2006 and Seduced. Sex and Art from Antiquity to Now, Barbican Art Gallery London, 2007.

 

Kemp is currently an Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University and does speaking, writing and broadcasting full-time.