Dr Nicholas Penny (born 21 December 1949) was Director of the National Gallery, London from February 2008 to August 2015. After obtaining his doctorate from the Courtauld Institute, Nicholas Penny began his career as a lecturer in art history at the University of Manchester. His first museum position was as Keeper of the Department of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He was Clore Curator of Renaissance Painting at the National Gallery between 1990 and 2002, but spent 2000-2002 as Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in the National Gallery of Art, Washington. From 2002-2008 he was Senior Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. He is the author of many books and articles on both painting and sculpture and the history of collecting and of taste, including scholarly catalogues, introductory texts for the student, and critical reviews for the general reader. His books include RAPHAEL (with Roger Jones), TASTE AND THE ANTIQUE (with Francis Haskell) and THE MATERIALS OF SCULPTURE.