Martin Kemp was appointed as the Professor of the History of Art Department in 1995. As the leading Leonardo da Vinci scholar, Kemp’s work has stressed the work of the artist as a modeller and empirical investigator of the world.
Professor Kemp arrived with the brief to further develop the history of art at Oxford, and to construct an organisation appropriate to the University’s international status, and its rich collections of art and other visual material. As part of this development, the Centre for Visual Studies was opened in 1999, based in 59 George Street. The mission of the centre was to understand visual cultures through the study of artefacts across a wide scale of periods.
Professor Kemp's library of Leonardo da Vinci books and ephemera is on long-term loan to the Faculty of History. This rare collection further contributes to the unique resources available to research students at Oxford.