John Pope-Hennessy




curator. museum director. art historian.

Country of origin



Sir John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy (1913-1994) was a British art historian, museum director, curator, and an expert on Italian Renaissance sculpture and painting. He served as director of both the Victoria and Albert Museum (1967-1973) and the British Museum (1974-1976). In 1977, he became Chairman of the Department of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and professor of art history at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Sienese Quattrocento painting was Pope-Hennessy's first field of research and was marked by his monograph on the painter Giovanni di Paolo. However, his greatest contribution to the history of art is perhaps his research and writing on Italian sculpture, which profited from his decades-long work with the rich sculpture collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. His three-volume Introduction to Italian Sculpture has remained an important reference work and was followed by studies on Donatello, bronze statuettes, and Italian plaquettes.

historian's relations

Italian Renaissance Siena Italy history of art New York University John Pope-Hennessy Donatello Quattrocento British Museum Skulpturensammlung Dresden Giovanni di Paolo

Main works

Pope-Hennessy, J. (1947). Sienese Quattrocento Painting. Oxford: Phaidon

Pope-Hennessy, J. (1958). Italian Renaissance sculpture. London: Phaidon

Pope-Hennessy, J. (1968). Essays on Italian Sculpture. London: Phaidon

About the scholar

John Pope-Hennessy papers


John Pope-Hennessy papers