The National Gallery of Ireland has announced that Caroline Campbell will be its next director. Campbell, born in Belfast, will be the first woman to lead the Dublin institution since its founding in 1864. Since 2018, head of collections and research at the National Gallery in London, where she is also curator of Italian paintings before 1500 , Campbell will in November take the reins from Sean Rainbird, who has led the National Gallery of Ireland for the past decade.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Caroline’s caliber join the Museum team and look forward to welcoming her later this year,” said National Gallery Board Chair Mary Keane. “Caroline’s impressive experience, knowledge and passion will inspire both the Gallery team and our visitors, and we look forward to seeing her vision for the Gallery come to life in the years to come.”
Before coming to the National Gallery in London, Campbell from 2005 to 2012 was curator of paintings at the Courtauld Gallery, also in London. Before taking on this role, she worked at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Campbell is a graduate of Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, and is an expert in Italian painting, particularly that of the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Among the exhibitions she has curated are ‘Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence’ (2009) at the Courtauld and ‘Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting’ (2014), ‘Duccio/Caro: In Dialogue’ (2015) , and “Mantegna and Bellini” (2018), all at the National Gallery in London.
Campbell credited a teenage visit to the National Gallery of Ireland with sparking her interest in becoming a curator. “For years I carried around the postcards we bought that day,” she told the BBC. “I stuck them with Blu-Tack on my bedroom wall.”