Nicholas Penny. Photo Andrew Crowley.

Nicholas Penny, director of London's National Gallery, has announced his intention to retire in 2015. Penny, who turns 65 in December, has served as director since 2008. He will remain until a replacement is found.

Penny, a Courtauld Institute-educated art historian, began his museum career as the curator of the department of Western art at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He first served at the National Gallery as managing curator of Renaissance painting from 1990-2000. He worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts from 2000 to 2002 and as a senior curator of sculpture and decorative arts from 2002 to 2008.

While in London, Penny oversaw notable exhibitions such as "Leonardo da Vinci, Painter at the Court of Milan" (2011-12); "Barocci: Brilliance and Grace"(2013); and "Rembrandt: The Late Works" (2014-15).

Located in central London's Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses Britain's premiere collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The Gallery contains over 2,300 works, including famous examples by artists such as Holbein, van Eyck, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens, van Gogh, Monet and Seurat.