The appointment of the new Director of London’s National Gallery was confirmed by Prime Minister David Cameron this morning. Dr Finaldi will take up his new position on 17 August 2015 taking over from the Current Director, Dr Nicholas Penny who announced his retirement in summer 2014.
Dr Finaldi, a British citizen, is currently Deputy Director for Collections and Research at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid where he has been since 2002. He was formerly a curator at the National Gallery, London, between 1992 and 2002 where he was responsible for the later Italian paintings in the collection (Caravaggio to Canaletto) and the Spanish collection (Bermejo to Goya).
Born in London, the 49-year-old studied art history at Dulwich College and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where his doctoral research focused on the 17th-century painter Jusepe de Ribera. At the National Gallery he curated various exhibitions including ‘Spanish Still Life from Velázquez to Goya’ (1995), ‘Discovering the Italian Baroque: The Denis Mahon Collection’ (1997), ‘Orazio Gentileschi at the Court of Charles I’ (1999) and (together with previous National Gallery Director, Neil MacGregor) ‘Seeing Salvation: The Image of Christ’ (2000).
Gabriele Finaldi said: “I feel deeply honoured to take on the Directorship of the National Gallery after Nicholas Penny. This is a world-class collection in a world-class city and I eagerly look forward to working with the Trustees and the staff to strengthen the Gallery’s bond with the public and its international standing. I also look forward to developing an exciting exhibition programme and the Gallery’s research and educational activities.”
Dr Finaldi recently curated an exhibition on Murillo, ‘The Art of Friendship: Murillo and Justino de Neve’ (2012) which was on display at the Prado, Seville and at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. At the Prado he spearheaded the acquisition of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s ‘Feast of the Wine of Saint Martin’ (ca. 1566), and the early and exceedingly rare French panel painting attributed to Colart de Laon, ‘The Agony in the Garden with the donor, Louis I of Orléans’ (1405-10). He is the editor of the Museum’s art historical periodical, the ‘Boletín del Museo del Prado’, and is currently writing a book on the drawings of Ribera.