Michael Clarke HRSA CBE was Director of the Scottish National Gallery from 2000 to 2016.


After working at York Art Gallery and the British Museum, Clarke was appointed assistant keeper at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, moving to the National Gallery Scotland in 1984. From 1999 to 2005 he directed the Playfair Project which involved the restoration of the Royal Scottish Academy building and the construction of an underground link with the National Gallery. His academic specialism is in French art, curating major exhibitions in Edinburgh and abroad, culminating in 2016 with Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh, shown in Edinburgh and at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Taft Museum in Cincinnati. Throughout his career Michael has published extensively – books for the British Museum, and the university presses of Manchester and Oxford, and an impressive range of erudite exhibition and permanent collection catalogues.


He has been honoured locally, by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, nationally by Her Majesty The Queen as Commander of the British Empire, and internationally as Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres and by the Queen of Denmark as Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog.