Museo del Prado’s Gabriele Finaldi Appointed Director of London’s National Gallery Amid Staff Crisis

He returns to the institution where he first cut his teeth as a curator.

Gabriele Finaldi has been appointed as the new director of the National Gallery. The official announcement, made today by the London museum, doesn’t come as a surprise.

Finaldi has been rumored to be Nicholas Penny’s successor for months (see Nicholas Penny Steps Down from London’s National Gallery and National Gallery to Tap Gabriele Finaldi as Director). He will take up the position on August 17, 2015.

“I feel deeply honoured to take on the Directorship of the National Gallery after Nicholas Penny,” Finaldi said in a statement. “This is a world-class collection in a world-class city and I eagerly look forward to working with the Trustees and the staff to strengthen the Gallery’s bond with the public and its international standing.”


Born in London in 1965 to an Italian family, Finaldi will hit the ground running. He is already familiar with the National Gallery, where he served as curator of Italian and Spanish painting for 10 years, starting in 1992.

In 2002, he was hired by the Museo del Prado in Madrid, where he worked on the organization and conservation of the museum’s vast permanent collection. His thirteen-year stint at the Prado has been a successful one, and he has been widely credited with propelling the historical museum into the 21st century.

“Gabriele Finaldi has contributed decisively to the modernization of the Museo del Prado in the last decade, most significantly, in positioning the Museum internationally and developing its conservation and research roles,” Prado director Miguel Zugaza said in a statement. “At the Prado we hope that his presence in London will give a new impulse to the highly positive collaboration already established between our Museum and the Gallery under the leadership of our esteemed friend and colleague, Nicholas Penny,” he added.

Staff Tensions 

Finaldi, however, will take up the helm of the reputed British institution at a fraught time.

In the last few months, a conflict between the senior management and some of its front of house staff over the privatization of its visitors’s services has brought on a series of five-day strikes.

According to the Guardian, further industrial action is planned for the period between Tuesday 24 March and Saturday 28 March (see Staffing Crisis at London’s National Gallery, Strike Partially Closes National Gallery and Union Rep’s Suspension Fuels Staff’s Anger at London’s National Gallery).

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