Dr David Hemsoll BSc (London), BA (UEA), MA (London), PhD (Birmingham), FSA

Photograph of Dr David Hemsoll

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

Barber Institute of Fine Arts
University of Birmingham
B15 2TS

David Hemsoll is a specialist in Renaissance art and architecture, especially of Rome, Florence and Venice, and he has written extensively in this area. He also has a particular interest in architectural theory and the methodology of architectural design.


I originally received some training in architecture before I turned to art history, which had long been a fascination of mine. Having been appointed a lecturer at the University of Birmingham in 1990 which was when the Department of History of Art was re-founded, I was then departmental head for eight years (2002-10). I am currently the editor of the peer-reviewed journal Architectural History.



  • Historical Concepts in the History of Art
  • Object and Medium 1: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculptures
  • Survey Course (2nd year):  Renaissance Art in Italy and the Netherlands, 1400-1460
  • Special Subjects (final year): Michelangelo; Painting and Decoration in Sixteenth-Century Venice


  • Criticism and Methods

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise, at MPhil and PhD level, students specialising not only in architecture and architectural theory but also in Italian Renaissance and Northern Renaissance painting and sculpture.

Find out more - our PhD History of Art  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Much of my early research was on the Veronese/Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli, on whom I co-authored a major monograph (2004). I have also co-authored an extensive catalogue of the architectural drawings (2014), mainly of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, that formed part of the enormous collection of the antiquarian Cassiano dal Pozzo and are now mostly in the Royal Collection.  Concurrently, I have been working on sixteenth-century architectural methodology, looking at architects such as Raphael and his followers, and focussing in particular on Michelangelo’s architecture in both Florence and Rome, and this has been the theme of a substantial number of articles. I am presently developing some of this work as a monograph which will chart the differing approaches of successive Renaissance architects, from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo, towards Antiquity and the assimilation of the Antique in their schemes. I continue, as well, to take a keen interest in the Barber Institute collections.

Other activities

  • University Prima Facie Appeals Committee
  • Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Architectural History

Previous additional roles

  • Director of Undergraduate programmes in History of Art
  • Examinations Officer for History of Art



  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, Renaissance Architecture and Ornament; The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, ser. A, n. 10, Royal Collection with Harvey Miller: London, 2013 ISBN 978-1-905375-77-6); 784 pp.
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, Michele Sanmicheli, Electa: Milan, 2004 (ISBN 8837028040); 404 pp.

Journal articles and contributions to edited books


  • D. Hemsoll. ‘Palladio’s architectural orders, from practice to theory’, Architectural History, 58, 2015, pp. 1-54
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Michelangelo’s St Peter’s and a neglected early drawing’, in N. Avcioğlu and A. Sherman, eds, Artistic Practices and Cultural Transfer in Early Modern Italy; Essays in Honour of Deborah Howard, Ashgate: Farnham, 2015 (ISBN 9781472443656), pp. 197-220


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Drawings by Palladio and others of the Porta dei Leoni in Verona’, Pegasus, Berliner Beiträge zum Nachleben der Antike, 16, 2014, pp. 129-60
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Consonance, incoherence and obscurity: rhetorical idealism in the centrally-planned church schemes of Sebastiano Serlio’, in M.  Basso et al., eds, The Gordian Knot, Studi offerti a Richard Schofield, Campisano Editore: Rome, 2014 (ISBN 9788898229048), pp. 131-48
  • D. Hemsoll with Paul Davies, ‘Quattro progetti architettonici legati a Giulio Romano’, in U. Bazzotti, ed. Giulio Romano e l’arte del Cinquecento, Franco Cosimo Panini: Modena, 2014 (ISBN 9788857007878), pp. 185-208


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Envisaging Michelangelo’s Porta Pia’, Annali di architettura, 25, 2013 (2015), pp. 101-16
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Interesse per i monumenti antichi nel Veneto tra 1450 e 1600’, in D. Basso and G. Cavalieri Manesse, eds., Storia dell'architettura nel Veneto: L'Età Romana e Tardoantica, Marsilio: Venice, 2013 (ISBN 9788831717120), pp. 226-233


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Imitation as a creative vehicle in Michelangelo’s art and architecture’, in J.A. Franklin, R.A. Heslop and C. Stevenson, eds., Architecture and Interpretation: Essays for Eric Fernie, Boydell Press: Woodbridge, 2012 (ISBN 978-1-84383-781-7), pp. 221-41
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘The conception and design of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling: “wishing just to shed a little upon the whole rather than mentioning the parts”’, in J. Burke, ed., Rethinking the High Renaissance: the Culture of the Visual Arts in Early Sixteenth-Century Rome, Ashgate: Farnham, 2012 (ISBN 978-1-4094-2558-8) pp. 263-87


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Fourteen sheets of drawings by Sebastiano Serlio’ in M. Beltramini and C. Elam, eds, Some Degree of Happiness: studi di storia dell'architettura in onore di Howard Burns, Edizioni della Normale: Pisa, 2010 (ISBN 9788876423727), pp. 273-295, 733-737
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Sebastiano Serlio, progetti per una villa fortificata / Projects for a Fortified Villa’, in A. Faliva, ed., Ville del Rinascimento padano. I bastioni, il portico e la fattoria / the Bastions, the Portico and the Farmyard, Mondadori Electa: Milan, 2010  (ISBN 9788837077457), pp. 97-99


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Raphael’s new architectural agenda’, in R. Eriksen and M. Malmanger, eds, Imitation, Representation and Printing in the Italian Renaissance (Early Modern and Modern Studies, vol. 3), Fabrizio Serra Editore: Pisa-Roma, 2009 (ISBN: 978-88-6227-111-0), pp. 201–39
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Palladio e il tempio antico authentico nei illustrazioni dei Quattro libri’, in F. Barbieri et al., eds, Palladio. 1508-2008, il simposio del cinquecentario, Marsilio: Venice 2009 (ISBN: 978-88-317-9626), pp. 144-49


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Le ville di Plinio il Giovane e la loro influenza sui progetti di villa Veneti’; Vincenzo Scamozzi: pianta della villa Laurentina di Plinio; ‘”Un fortissimo palazzo”: il castello Bevilacqua a Legnago’; La Soranza a Treville’; ‘Villa Della Torre a Fumane’, in G. Beltramini and H. Burns, eds, Andrea Palladio e la villa veneta da Petrarcha a Carlo Scarpa, Marsilio: Venice, 2005 (ISBN: 8831786407), pp. 200-03, 282-4, 284-8, 288-91


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Palestrina’, in I. Campbell, Ancient Roman Topography and Architecture; The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, ser. A, n. 9, 3 vols, Royal Collection with Harvey Miller: London, 2004 (ISBN 1872501125), vol. 2, pp. 675-87


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘The Laurentian Library and Michelangelo’s architectural method’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 66, 2003, pp. 29-62


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Michele Sanmicheli a Verona e a Venezia’, in A. Bruschi, ed., La storia  dell’architettura italiana: il primo Cinquecento, Electa: Milan, 2002 (ISBN 8843571761), pp. 354-71


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘A question of language: Raphael, Michelangelo and the art of architectural imitation’, in L. Golden ed., Raising the Eyebrow: John Onians and World Art Studies, an album amicorum in his honour, BAR International Series 996, Archeopress: Oxford, 2001 (ISBN 1841712779), pp. 123-31


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘I portali dei palazzi veronesi nel Rinascimento’, in P. Lanaro, P. Marini and  G.M. Varanini, eds, Edilizia privata nella Verona rinascimentale, Electa: Milan, 2000 (ISBN 8843576542), pp. 252-66
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Palazzo Onori’, in ibid., pp. 328-33
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Sanmicheli and his patrons: Planning for posterity’, in G. Beltramini, A.G. Giavarina and P. Marini, eds, Studi in onore di Renato Cevese, Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura ‘Andrea Palladio’: Vicenza, 2000 (ISBN ungiven), pp. 161-88
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Sanmicheli’s architecture and literary theory’, in G. Clarke and P. Crossley eds, Architecture and Language. Constructing Identity in European Architecture, c.1000-c.1650, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000 (ISBN 052165078X), pp. 102-17; 192-95


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Simone Martini’s St John the Evangelist re-examined: a panel from an early portable triptych’, Apollo, 147, 1998, pp. 3-10
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Beauty as an aesthetic and artistic ideal in late fifteenth-century Florence’, in F. Ames-Lewis and M. Rogers, eds, Concepts of Beauty in Renaissance Art, Ashgate: Aldershot, 1998 (ISBN 1859284256), pp. 66-79


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Michele Sanmicheli and the façade of SS. Biagio e Cataldo in Venice’, Annali di architettura, 8, 1996,  pp. 115-26
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Alberti, Leon Battista’, in J. Turner ed., The Dictionary of Art, Macmillan: London, 1996, 34 vols (ISBN 1884446000), vol. 1, pp. 555-69
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Bramante, Donato’, ibid., vol. 4, pp. 642-53
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Sanmicheli, Michele’, ibid., vol. 27, pp. 757-63


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Sanmicheli’s Palazzo Pompei: site dating and design’, Annali di architettura, 7, 1995, pp. 95-110
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘The Villa Zani at Villimpenta: A palace fit for a prince,’ Arte Lombarda, 113/14/15, 1995, pp. 62-77
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Giuliano da Sangallo and the new Renaissance of Lorenzo de’Medici’, in F. Ames-Lewis, ed., The Early Medici and Their Artists, Birkbeck College: London, 1995 (ISBN 0907904955), pp. 187-205
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Le ville di Sanmicheli’, in H. Burns et al., Michele Sanmicheli: Architettura, linguaggio e cultura artistica nel Cinquecento, Electa: Milan, 1995 (ISBN 8843554204), pp. 92-99 and 281-83


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Sanmicheli through British Eyes’, in J. Bold and E. Chaney, eds, English Architecture Public and Private, Hambledon Press: London, 1993 (ISBN 1852850957), pp. 121-34


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Le piazze di Brescia nel Medioevo e Rinascimento: lo sviluppo della Piazza della Loggia’, Annali di Architettura, 4-5, 1992-93, pp. 168-77
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Entasis and diminution in the design of Renaissance pilasters’, in J. Guillaume, ed., L’emploi des ordres à la Renaissance, Picard: Paris, 1992 (ISBN 2708404229), pp. 339-53


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Palazzo Bevilacqua e la tipologia del palazzo veronese’, Annali di architettura, 3, 1991, pp. 58-69


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘The Architecture of Nero’s Golden House’, in M. Henig, ed., Architecture and Architectural Sculpture in the Roman Empire, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology (Monograph 29): Oxford, 1990 (ISBN 0947816291), pp. 10-38


  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Reconstructing the octagonal dining room of Nero’s Golden House’, Architectural History, 32, 1989, pp. 1-17
  • D. Hemsoll, ‘Bramante and the Palazzo della Loggia in Brescia’, Arte Lombarda, 86-87, 1989, pp. 167-79
  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, in E.H. Gombrich et al., Giulio Romano, Electa: Milan, 1989 (ISBN 8843529536), pp. 516-19, 522-23, 528-29; republished as Giulio Romano, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1998 (ISBN 0521573394), pp. 241-43, 247-49, 254-56


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies and M. Wilson Jones, ‘The Pantheon: triumph of Rome or triumph of compromise?’, Art History, 10, 1987, pp. 133-53


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Godfrey, ‘The Pantheon: temple or rotunda?’, in M. Henig and A. King eds, Pagan Gods  and Shrines of the Roman Empire, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology (Monograph 8): Oxford, 1986 (ISBN 0947816089), pp. 195-209


  • D. Hemsoll with P. Davies, ‘Renaissance balusters and the Antique’, Architectural History, 26, 1983, pp. 1-23

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