Dr Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen with Persian manuscript

BA Hons MèsL PhD

Christopher Allen is the National Art Critic for The Australian, and Senior Master in Academic Extension at Sydney Grammar School, where he teaches Classical Greek and Latin as well as senior Art History. Christopher taught at the University of NSW from 1978–80 and during the late 1980s began writing art criticism for the Sydney Morning Herald (1987–91) and other publications. He spent much of 1994–96 in Paris on a postdoctoral appointment at the Collège de France, then returned to take up a lecturing position in Art History at the National Art School (Sydney) from 1997, publishing several books on art and the history of art theory. From 2005 to 2008 Christopher was Art Critic for The Financial Review.

What inspired you to take this role?

Libraries have always played a central role as the repositories and storehouses of human knowledge; all of ancient literature, for example, and everything we know about the origins of our civilisation, we owe to the efforts of scholars from the librarians of Alexandria to the patient monastic copyists of the Middle Ages and the philologists of the Renaissance. Today, in a media world that promotes amnesia and encourages irrational and censorious opinion, the role of the Library in preserving our literary culture and providing a quiet haven for learning and reflection is more vital than ever. It is an honour to have the opportunity to contribute to this great institution.

Photo: Christopher Allen is seated in the Sir William Dixson Research Library holding an illuminated manuscript of the 16th century Persian poet, Mohammad Vahshi Bafqi. the item is described as 'a Persian love lyric'.