Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

Architecture, esp. the architectural theory of the Italian Renaissance; painting, sculpture and architecture in Ancient Greece and Rome; material culture, metaphor and thought; perception and cognition; the biological basis of art; art and neuroscience; art as a worldwide phenomenon.


John Onians, Emeritus Professor 
Email: [email protected]

John Onians taught at the University of East Anglia from 1971 to 2007 after study at the University of Cambridge and at the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes, London. His interests range from the close analysis of Italian Renaissance Architecture and Greek and Roman Art to experimentation with broad approaches to art as a worldwide phenomenon, such as art geography. Most recently he has explored the use of neuroscience for the study of art-related behaviours, pioneering neuroarthistory, neuroarchaeology, neuroanthropology and neuromuseology. His books include Bearers of Meaning. The Classical Orders in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (1988) and Classical Art and the Cultures of Greece and Rome (1999). He was founding editor of the journal Art History (1978-88) and he edited the first Atlas of World Art (2004). He is currently writing a Neuroarthistory of Europe.