Opher Mansour

Lecturer and Convenor MA Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture (maternity cover)


Research Interests
Early modern art and visual culture | Art theory | Eroticism and censorship
Sacred art and religious reformation | Diplomacy and cultural exchange | Prints and printmaking


Opher Mansour is a lecturer in Art History and a specialist in the art of Italy and Southern Europe, and its global offshoots and interactions, in the 16th and 17th centuries. After earning his BA at Cambridge University (1996) and MA and PhD at the Courtauld Institute of art (1999 and 2003), he taught at the Courtauld, Dartmouth College, Penn State University Park (2010), and the University of Hong Kong (2011-2018) before joining the Warburg Institute in 2019.

As convenor of the MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture, Opher provides advice and administrative and pastoral help to enrolled students, and works closely with the Institute’s partners at the National Gallery to support the curatorial component of the MA.



Opher’s doctoral research on artistic reform and censorship in Counter-Reformation Rome developed into a series of articles and a monograph on eroticism in the art of the Carracci, which addresses their response to the crisis in the representation of nudes and other eroticised subjects in the wake of the Council of Trent and the censorship of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement. Organised in chapters that explore successive stages and setting of the careers of both Annibale and Agostino Carracci, the book assesses the changing nature of their depiction of erotic themes and subjects in the context of Bologna and Venice, in the Farnese Gallery, in the writings of their influential early supporter and interpreter, G.B. Agucchi; and assesses the importance of their work within the broader resurgence and reformulation of eroticism in Italian art in the years around 1600.

A subsequent, ongoing, research project, ‘Global Rome’ examines efforts to assert Rome’s status as caput mundi through the visual arts in the years between the 1580s and the 1620s, decades in which the cumulative missionary ambitions of successive popes, the quickening pace of contacts with African and Asian peoples, and the broadening horizons of European Catholics prompted a range of artistic projects which sought to re-formulate and re-emphasise the centrality of both Rome and the Papacy to Catholicism’s global expansion. The project has been supported by the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.



Opher teaches the term 1 core module, Image to Action. In term 2, he offers a module on Visual Culture in the Age of European Expansion.




The Carracci and the rebirth of eroticism in Italian art c. 1600 (Under review)

Global Rome: Art, diplomacy and the transformation of the early modern Papacy (In progress)


Orbis in Urbem: Royal and Ambassadorial Entrances and the performance of Rome’s Global Role from Charles V to Queen Christina” (under review)

“Picturing Global Conversion: Art and Diplomacy at the Court of Paul V (1605-1621)” in Journal of Early Modern History, vol. 17, Issues 5-6, p.525-559. ed. Nabil Matar and Simon Ditchfield (2013)

“Censure and Censorship in Rome, ca. 1600: The Visitation of Clement VIII and the Arts” in The Sensuous and the Church ed. M. Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

“Cardinal Virtues: Odoardo Farnese in his Camerino” in The Possessions of a Cardinal: Art, Piety, and Politics 1450-1700 ed. C. Richardson & M. Hollingsworth (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2010)

“Prince and Pontiff: Aspects of Papal Portraiture Between the High Renaissance and the Counter-Reformation” in Art and Identity in Early Modern Rome’ ed. M. Bury & J. Burke (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008)

Non cruciatus, sed voluptates: Antonio Gallonio’s Trattato degli Instrumenti di Martirio and its illustrations” in Roman Bodies: Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century ed. A. Hopkins & M. Wyke (London: British School at Rome, 2005)


“Hope and Healing: Painting in Italy in a time of Plague 1500-1800, edited by G.A. Bailey, P.M. Jones, F. Mormando and T.W. Worcester” in The Burlington Magazine, August 2007, no. 1253, vol. CXLIXi