Robin Cormack

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Robin Cormack
Robin Cormack - Brno 2017 - portrait.jpg
Born (1938-09-27) 27 September 1938 (age 80)
Spouse(s)Mary Beard

Robin Sinclair Cormack, FSA (born 27 September 1938) is a British classicist and art historian, specialising in Byzantine art. He was Professor in the History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1991–2004.


Robin Cormack was educated at Bristol Grammar School and Exeter College, Oxford, and gained his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London University. He lectured at the Courtauld Institute from 1966–82, during which he was Visiting Fellow at the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1972–73.

After three years as Reader at the Warburg Institute, during which he also held a Fellowship at Robinson College, Cambridge 1984–85, Cormack returned to the Courtauld Institute as Reader and Professor. He was also Deputy Director 1999–2002.

After retiring from the Courtauld, Cormack held a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship 2004–06 and a scholarship at the Getty Research Institute 2005–06, and was Special Professor in Classics at the University of Nottingham 2005–08.

He is now Invited Lecturer in the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge, where his wife, Mary Beard, is Professor; Professor Emeritus in the History of Art, University of London; and Senior Academic Visitor at Wolfson College, Cambridge. His current research interests include the cultural history of Saint Catherine's Monastery from Late Antiquity onwards.

Personal life[edit]

In 1961 Cormack married Annabel Shackleton (maths teacher/linguist); they had a daughter, Sophia and a son, Justin. After separation and then divorce, in 1985 Cormack married Mary Beard; they have a daughter, Zoe born in 1985 and a son, Raphael born in 1987.


  • Writing in gold: Byzantine society and its icons, Oxford University Press, 1985, ISBN 0-19-520486-7 (translated into French by Marie-Odile Bernez as Icones et Société à Byzance, G. Monfort, Paris, 1993, ISBN 2-85226-068-9).
  • The Byzantine Eye: studies in art and patronage, Variorum Reprints, London, 1989. ISBN 0-86078-244-1
  • Painting the soul : icons, death masks, and shrouds, Reaktion, London, 1997 (Runciman Award, 1998). ISBN 1-86189-001-X
  • Byzantine Art, Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-284211-0
  • Icons, British Museum Press, 2007. ISBN 0-7141-2655-1
  • Byzantium 330–1453 with Maria Vassilaki, Catalogue of the Royal Academy Exhibition, 2008. ISBN 1-905711-26-3
  • Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies, with Elizabeth Jeffreys and John Haldon, Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN 0-19-925246-7