Welcome to my website, designed by Julie Hill, with input from my PA, Judd Flogdell. The hollow box design is based on Leonardo drawing in the Picture Gallery at Christ Church, Oxford. For more personal things, see the News and the Blog.
I am Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University.
I have written and broadcast extensively on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day. I speak on issues of visualisation to a wide range of audiences. Leonardo da Vinci has been the subject of a number of books, including Leonardo (Oxford University Press, 2004) and the semi-autobiographical Living with Leonardo (Thames & Hudson, 2018). I have published on imagery in the sciences of anatomy, natural history and optics, including The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (Yale University Press).
I was educated at Windsor Grammar School, and was trained in Natural Sciences and Art History at Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. I was British Academy Wolfson Research Professor (1993–98). For more than 25 years I was based in Scotland (University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews). I have held visiting posts in Princeton, New York, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Harvard and Montreal.
I have 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. I was also guest curator for Circa 1492 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1992. I have broadcast extensively and presented concerts.
I am now full-time writing, speaking and broadcasting.
I have been a keen player of ball games, in particular hockey. I captained the Scottish first division team, Western, and the West District side. As an Englishman, I did not qualify for the Scottish national team. But I may not have been good enough anyway.