Neville Rowley takes over as custodian of early Italian art at the Gemäldegalerie and the Skulpturensammlung


In February 2016, Dr. Neville Rowley assumed curatorship of the Staatliche Museen’s collections of Italian art dating from before 1500 at two of its sites: the Gemäldegalerie and the Skulpturensammlung in the Bode-Museum.

The thematically and stylistically interwoven collections of painting and sculpture feature masterworks by such artists as Giovanni Pisano and Giotto, Donatello and Masaccio, Benedetto da Maiano and Botticelli, making them two of the richest collections of early Italian art in the world. Both collections are linked by their history and the encyclopaedic bent of their profile. Since 2008 the collections have been jointly managed by the director of the Gemäldegalerie. The overlap in content and theme between the two collections is now consolidated by having a single curator oversee the same period in both.

Neville Rowley was born in 1978 in Paris. He completed his MBA in 2002 at the ESSEC Business School (Paris) before studying art history at the Sorbonne, where he graduated with the distinction summa cum laude in 2010, with a dissertation on early 15th-century Italian painting (Pittura di Luce). Rowley has spent the last two years compiling a catalogue of the works of Donatello and his circle for the Staatliche Museen’s Skulpturensammlung. Rowley has held teaching posts at the Sorbonne, the University of Campinas (Brazil), ESSEC, and the Ecole du Louvre. He has received fellowships from the Villa Medici in Rome and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and has curated exhibitions at both. At the Bode-Museum, he was involved in the planning of last year’s show 'The Lost Museum’. Neville Rowley has published numerous papers on Italian painting and sculpture. For him, the curator’s primary responsibility is to make art accessible to the public. He has written non-academic books aimed at a wide audience on diverse artists, including Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Donatello, Caravaggio, and Picasso.

For Rowley, one of the priorities of the job will be to combine the sister arts of painting and sculpture, so that a dialogue evolves between the two art forms on show in the Gemäldegalerie and Bode-Museum. Rowley has stated that: “Only in Berlin can one reveal the interconnectedness between the two art forms in such an impressive manner.” Michael Eissenhauer, Director General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, was delighted with the appointment. In a statement he said: “With the appointment of Neville Rowley we not only gain an internationally recognized and superbly networked scholar, but someone with the necessary vision to strike a balance between the presentation of painting and sculpture.”