BA Cambridge 1969,  MA Courtauld, University of London  1971, PhD Courtauld 1976

Contact details:

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Somerset House





+44 (0) 20 7848 2164


Paul Hills is well known for his publications on colour, on Italian Renaissance art, and on the poet and painter David Jones. After studying at Cambridge, he took an MA and a PhD at The Courtauld. During his time as lecturer at Warwick University, from 1976 to 1998, he directed the History of Art programme in Venice. In 1981 he curated the retrospective exhibition of David Jones at the Tate Gallery and he has continued to write catalogue essays on Jones and on such contemporary artists as Simon Lewty, Ana Maria Pacheco and Antoni Malinowski.He has been a visiting professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York; Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies; and the Royal College of Art. In 2003 Hills was appointed Andrew Mellon Visiting Professor at The Courtauld, and took up a permanent post in 2004.  He has lectured on Renaissance art at international venues, including Harvard University, the Prado, the Louvre, and the National Gallery in London. His books include David Jones (Tate Gallery, 1981), The Light of Early Italian Painting (Yale, 1987), and Venetian Colour: Marble, Mosaic, Painting and Glass, 1250-1550 (Yale, 1999).  His work on Italian art has been translated into Spanish, Italian and French.


research interests


  • Colour and language
  • Art and perception
  • Titian and Venetian painting
  • Curtains, veils and drapery in Renaissance art


Programmes taught in 2010-11


  • PGDHA:  The arts in Venice, c. 1420-1510
  • MA: Titian: Venice and Europe

PhDs currently in preparation under supervision


  • Superare la Natura: a Study of the Portraits of Jacopo Pontormo
  • Chivalry and the Renaissance Court: the Paintings of Manta

Supervised jointly with Dr Sheila McTighe:

  • Venetian Presences in Genoese Collections of the Golden Century, 1528-1656/7
  • Collecting Italian Drawings in Seventeenth-century Spain: the Marques del Carpio Collection

Selected publications


In preparation

The Art of Discovering: Curtains, veils and draperies in the Italian Renaissance

In press

‘Vesting the Body of Christ’, in Giovanni Bellini, ed. Carolyn Wilson,  Brepols, Turnhout


The Renaissance Image Unveiled: from Madonna to Venus (The Watson Gordon Lecture, 2009)  National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, November 2010.

‘La persistenza del colore per Maria Morganti’ / ‘The Endurance of Colour for Maria Marganti’, in Maria Morganti: L’unità di misura è il colore, ed. Chiara Bertola, Silvana Editore, Milan, 2010 (Exhibition at Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona) pp.18-21, October 2010.

‘Tintoretto and Venetian Gothic’, in Jacopo Tintoretto: Proceedings of the International Symposium, ed. M. Falomir, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 2009, pp. 13-18.

Simon Lewty: The Self as a Stranger, London 2010, essays by Paul Hills, pp. 49-78, and 84-94, October 2010.

‘Towards reflections’, in Antoni Malinowski: the Polish Connection, Dulwich College Picture Gallery, London (unpaginated).

Titian’s Fire: Pyrotechnics and Representations in Sixteenth-Century Venice’, Oxford Art Journal, 30. 2, 2007, pp. 185-204. 

Review of Tintoretto exhibition in Madrid, Burlington Magazine, CXLIX, May 2007, pp. 352-54.

Titian’s Veils’, Art History, vol.29, November 2006, pp. 771-795. 

‘Cuerpo y espíritu en el arte de Tiziano’, in Tiziano y el legado veneciano en el Museo del Prado, Gutenberg: Barcelona, 2005, pp. 173-90.

Venetian Colour: Marble, Mosaic, Painting and Glass, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1999. 

The Light of Early Italian Painting, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1987.

David Jones, Tate Gallery: London, 1981.



Colour; light in painting; Venetian art; drapery; veils; curtains; Renaissance dress; pyrotechnics; Murano glass; mosaic; Titian; Bellini; Tintoretto; David Jones.