Matthew Rampley

Colleges, School and Institutes


I was awarded my first degree by the University of Oxford where I combined the study of German and Ancient Greek. I later continued on to complete a PhD in German philosophy, specifically, the aesthetic thought of Friedrich Nietzsche, at the University of St. Andrews. 

I have been at Birmingham since April 2010. Before coming here I worked at the University of Teesside, having previously taught at University College of the Creative Arts and Edinburgh College of Art.

Research interests

My main teaching and research interests are in the art and architecture of central Europe from 1860 to the present as well as in art criticism, theory and the historiography of art.

Recent publications include: The Vienna School of Art History (Penn State University Press, 2013) and my edited volumes Heritage, Ideology and Identity in Central and Eastern Europe (Boydell, 2012) and Art History and Visual Studies in Europe: Transnational Discourses and National Frameworks (Brill, 2012). I have recently completed a critical study of the role of theories of evolution, the biological and neurological sciences in aesthetics and cultural theory, Crossing Boundaries? Art, Evolution and Neuroscience (forthcoming, 2017). I am currently leading a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust on museums of art and design and the cultural politics of Austria-Hungary in the later nineteenth century (article in the Leverhulme Annual Review at page 26), a follow-up to my earlier work on Viennese art historical thought.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Matthew Rampley’s main interests are art criticism and the historiography of art, with a particular emphasis on Austrian, German and Central European intellectual traditions since the mid nineteenth century. He is currently focusing on heritage and visual culture in Austria-Hungary from the mid nineteenth century to its demise in 1918, with particular reference to the role of museums, galleries, monument protection offices, art academies and universities in shaping and communicating ideas of national artistic heritage. He is completing a book on the rise of art history as a discipline in Vienna at the end of the nineteenth century (the so-called ‘Vienna School of Art History’), examining the links between research into art and wider political debates over the social and cultural identity of Austria-Hungary.

Professor Rampley welcomes enquiries from potential doctoral researchers wishing to research any subject that overlaps with his interests.