Jean-Luc Martinez is a French archaeologist and art historian specializing in ancient Greek sculpture. A graduate of the École du Louvre and agrégé in history at the Sorbonne in 1989, he taught archaeology at the Catholic University of Paris, then at the University of Paris X-Nanterre. Martinez was a member of the École française d’Athènes from 1993 to 1996, excavating at Delos and Delphi. When he returned to France in 1997, he was appointed Chief Curator of Ancient Greek Sculpture at the Musée du Louvre and he taught at the École du Louvre. From 2007 to 2013, he headed the Louvre’s Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, succeeding Alain Pasquier and he renovated the entire department. From April 2013 to 2021, Martinez was President-Director of the Musée du Louvre, succeeding Henri Loyrette. His aim was to make the Musée du Louvre “more generous, clearer and more accessible,” and to develop the public interest to permanent collections. Following the destruction of heritage in Syria and Iraq, in November 2015 he submitted a report to French President François Hollande entitled, “Fifty French Proposals to Protect Humanity’s Heritage.” Under his tenure, the museum’s storage areas were moved, because of the risk of flooding. In September 2021, Jean-Luc Martinez was appointed Ambassador for International Heritage Cooperation. In this role, he submitted a report in April 2023 to Catherine Colonna, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and to Rima Abdul Malik, Minister of Culture, entitled, “Shared Heritage: Universality, Restitutions and the Circulation of Works of Art.” It suggests a doctrine and a method for examining and processing restitution claims in France.
Jean-Luc Martinez’s selected publications include: Beau comme l’Antique (2000, with other authors); Les Antiques du Louvre: Une histoire du goût d’Henri IV à Napoléon Ier (2004); Praxitèle (2007, with other authors); D’Izmir à Smyrne. Découverte d’une cité antique (2009, with other authors); La Grèce au Louvre (2010); Arles, les fouilles du Rhône. Un fleuve pour mémoire (2012, with other authors); La Victoire de Samothrace. Redécouvrir un chef d’œuvre (2014, with other authors); L’Epopée des rois thraces (2015, with other authors); Corps en mouvement. La Danse au musée (2016, with other authors); Venus d’ailleurs. Matériaux et objets voyageurs (2021, with others); Paris-Athènes: Naissance de la Grèce moderne, 1675-1919 (2021, with others); Un âge d’or du marbre: la sculpture en pierre à Delphes dans l’Antiquité (2021); La Vénus de Milo (2022).
Jean-Luc Martinez was made chevalier de la Légion d’honneur on January 1, 2016.