BA (University College London), MA (University College London), PhD (University College London)

Contact details:

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Somerset House


London WC2R 0RN

+ 44 (0)20 7848 2508

Satish Padiyar was educated at University College London, where he gained his PhD (1999), working with Helen Weston and Adrian Rifkin. He taught at the University of Leeds and at University College London, and was the recipient of a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, before joining The Courtauld as Visiting Lecturer in 2005. He worked as chief curator on The Triumph of Eros. Art and Seduction in 18th Century France, at the Hermitage Rooms, London, in 2006. He was appointed Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century European Art in 2008.

Current Research and Interests

Recent areas of work include the history of sculpture, European neoclassical painting, the relation between art and philosophy, and critical theoretical approaches to the history of art. An interest in rethinking European neoclassical painting and sculpture with queer, feminist, psychoanalytic and Marxist theory culminated in his book Chains. David, Canova, and the Fall of the Public Hero in Postrevolutionary France (2007), reviewed in The Burlington Magazine, Art History, Oxford Art Journal, and The Journal of Modern History. The book offers a fresh account of European Neoclassicisms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, by attending to questions about the male body,  notions of self, Kantian aesthetics, and sexuality. He is currently researching and preparing a book on the senses of freedom, or ‘free agency’, in European modern art, from Fragonard to Twombly, c. 1750 – 1960, which will include chapters on the art of David, Courbet, Cézanne and Picasso. He is writing a commissioned monograph on Jean-Honoré Fragonard, for completion in 2016.

Programmes Taught During Forthcoming Academic Year

MA: The Male Body in Nineteenth-Century European Art

This course focuses on depictions of the male body in nineteenth-century painting and sculpture, in the work of David, Canova, Ingres, Géricault, Courbet, Manet, Caillebotte, and others. The political and theoretical challenges of recent feminism have provoked a range of cultural responses about men and masculinity. In particular, since the 1990s there has been continuing debate about whether masculinity is irrevocably ‘in crisis’, due to the erosion of once-secure gender boundaries, sexual identities and roles. From this contemporary perspective the course will address a number of questions. How might we understand the shift in nineteenth-century history paintings from homoerotically charged androgynous male nudes to ones of hyper-inflated masculinity? And what happens to the represented classical body itself in the face of a powerful emerging concentration on modernity and modern life? The course will also focus on depictions of the aestheticized male body in relation to questions of colonialism and racialized others, the homosocial and military ethos, and the history of sexuality. The course is of especial interest to those wishing to engage with current theories of self, sexuality, desire and vision, as articulated by Judith Butler, Jacques Lacan, Eve Sedgwick, Kaja Silverman, and Klaus Theweleit. 

Recent Publications


Modernist Games. Cézanne and His Card Players, Courtauld Online Books, 2013

Chains. David, Canova, and the Fall of the Public Hero in Postrevolutionary France, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007.

The Triumph of Eros. Art and Seduction in 18th-Century France, exhibition catalogue, with Dimitri Ozerkof, Fontanka, 2006.


Building a World Between Men (or Cézanne with Arendt)’, in Satish Padiyar, ed., Modernist Games. Cézanne and His Card Players, 2013

Last Words: David's Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Graces (1824). Subjectivity, Death, and Postrevolutionary Late Style’, RIHA Journal, 2011

‘Notes on Writing as Vertigo’, Art History, 34/ 2, April, 2011, reprinted in Catherine Grant and Patricia Rubin, eds., Creative Writing and Art History, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

'Les Lettres de Madame Récamier à Canova (1813-1819): une écriture féminine entre  grâce et ex il ', in Les Voix des Femmes dans le Discours sur l’Art (1750-1850), Les Presses du Réel, Paris, 2010 (forthcoming)

‘Who is Socrates? Desire and Subversion in David’s Death of Socrates (1787)’, Representations, 102, 2008.

 ‘Shadow of Agency: Derrida, Marx, David’, in Matthew Beaumont, (eds.), As Radical as Reality Itself: Essays on Marxism and Art for the 21st Century, Peter Lang, 2007

‘Dispossessed. On “Late” David’, in Mark Ledbury, ed., David after David. Essays on the Later Work, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and Yale University Press, 2007.

 ‘Menacing Cupid in the Art of Rococo’, in The Triumph of Eros. Art and Seduction in 18th-Century France, 2006

‘Sade/ David’, Art History, 23, 2000



Review of ‘Canova. La Bellezza e la Memoria’, Casa Buonarroti, Florence, The Burlington Magazine, November 2013.

‘After Michelangelo: Structure, Surface, Sex’, Art History, review of David Getsy, Rodin. Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture and Michael W. Cole, Ambitious Form. Giambologna, Ammanati, and Danti in Florence. Art History, 35/ 3, 2012

‘Neo-classicisms’, The Burlington Magazine, May 2011, exhibition review of ‘Antiquity Revived’, Louvre.

Review of Canova: l’ideale classico tra scultura e pittura, eds. S. Androsov, F. Mazzocca, and A. Paolucci, The Burlington Magazine, November 2010.

Review of Sculpture and Enlightenment by Erika Naginski, Getty Publications, 2009, The Art Bulletin, 2010

‘Futures’, parallax, 51, 2009 review of Jean-Paul Martinon’s On Futurity: Malabou, Nancy and Derrida

‘Canova’, The Burlington Magazine, March 2009 exhibition review of ‘La Mano E Il Volto di Antonio Canova’, Possagno

‘Neo-Classical Sculpture and Architecture’, The Burlington Magazine, May 2008 exhibition review of ‘The Return of the Gods: Neoclassical Sculpture in Britain’, Tate Modern

‘Antonio Canova’, The Burlington Magazine, January 2008 exhibition review of ‘Canova e la Venere Vincitrice’, Villa Borghese, Rome

‘About Gossip’, Oxford Art Journal, 29, No.2, June 2006 review of Gavin Butt’s Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World, 1948-1963

‘Crisis? What Crisis?’, Art History, 21, June 1998 review of Abigail Solomon-Godeau’s Male Trouble: A Crisis of Representation

Exhibition Catalogue Writing

In Plato’s Cave’, catalogue essay for Gordon Cheung. The Solar Cry, Edel Assanti Gallery, London, 2012

Master Drawings from the Courtauld Gallery, edited by Colin B. Bailey and Stephanie Buck , The Courtauld Gallery and The Frick Collection, London and New York, 2012, catalogue entries on Fragonard and Hubert Robert

‘Leon Golub and the Banality of Evil’, catalogue essay for Leon Golub, Reina Sofia, Madrid, May 2011 : Spanish edition also available

‘Menacing Cupid in the Art of Rococo’, in Satish Padiyar and Dimitri Ozerkof, eds., The Triumph of Eros: Art and Seduction in 18th-century France, Fontanka, 2006

Other Publications

`The Luminous Body’, Portfolio. The catalogue of contemporary photography in Britain, No. 32, December 2000

‘Interview with Satish Padiyar’, Acne Paper, Spring 2009 (Special Issue on ‘Eroticism’).

‘Out with the Old, in with the Newest’, The Art Newspaper, Issue 244, March 2013 (polemical article on the ‘contemporary’).

In Preparation

‘Twombly/  Fragonard’

 The Senses of Freedom: Painting and Agency from Fragonard to Twombly (book)

Fragonard: Painting Out of Time, Reaktion Books, 2016

Co-edited with Philip Shaw and Philippa Simpson, Visual Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Ashgate, 2015


'Out of Time: Fragonard, with David', in Katie Scott and Melissa Hyde, eds., Rococo echoes art, history, historiography from Cochin to Coppola, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2015



Body; Masculinity; Sculpture; Art and Philosophy; Critical Theory; Neoclassical; Late Style; Agency; Queer; Kantian Aesthetic, War