From Edinburgh in Scotland, Bert Smith is interested in the historical interpretation of Greek and Roman visual cultures. He studied Classics (BA) and Classical Archaeology (MPhil) at Oxford University, where he also carried out research for his doctorate on Hellenistic royal portraits. He was a Harkness Fellow at Princeton University for two years and was a Fellow by Examination in Ancient History at Magdalen College Oxford, from 1981 to 1986.
From 1986 to 1995, Smith taught Hellenistic and Roman art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Munich in 1991-92. He was Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford University from 1995 to 2022 and Stanley Kelly Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University in 2022-23, before joining Bilkent as Visiting Professor in 2024.
In 2008 Smith was awarded a three-year grant by the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Council, together with Bryan Ward-Perkins, for their project on The Last Statues of Antiquity. In 2010 he was elected to the British Academy, and held a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship from 2018-20, for work on the visual cultures of the Greek East under the Roman Empire.
Smith has worked extensively in the field at Roman sites in western Anatolia, at Oinoanda and Balboura in Lykia and at Aphrodisias in Karia, and has been Director of the New York University Excavations at Aphrodisias since 1991. He is also lead editor of three monograph series: Oxford Monographs on Classical Archaeology, Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture and Representation, and the site series of Aphrodisias monographs.
Greek and Roman art, 600 BC to AD 600; visual cultures of the Hellenistic East, from Macedonia to India; Roman portraits; urban cultures of Anatolia in the Hellenistic and Roman periods