“To Speak Across Time”: Gabriele Finaldi on Museums 

I think any collection has to respond to contemporary concerns even if it’s a collection which is fundamentally historical like ours is. I think museums need to become places of many voices.

in this episode

Caro Fowler speaks with the art historian Gabriele Finaldi, who has served as director of the National Gallery in London since 2015, following over a decade as deputy director of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. A specialist of the Renaissance and Baroque, Finaldi describes his early interest in the discipline and his graduate studies at the Courtauld, why he was moved to work on Jusepe de Ribera, and the particular power of drawing as a medium. More broadly, he discusses the evolving roles of education and the science of conservation within modern museums, and reflects on new directions for historical and collections-based museums today.


Gabriele Finaldi is director of the National Gallery in London, where from 1992 to 2002 he was the curator responsible for the later Italian paintings in the National Gallery collection (Caravaggio to Canaletto) and the Spanish collection (Bermejo to Goya). Born in London, Gabriele studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he completed his doctorate on Jusepe de Ribera, the seventeenth-century Spanish painter who worked in Italy. Gabriele was Deputy Director for Collections and Research at the Prado from 2002 to 2015, and has curated exhibitions in Britain, Spain, Italy, and Belgium and written on Velázquez and Zurbarán, Italian Baroque painting, religious iconography, and Picasso.

This conversation was recorded on June 3, 2020.


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