Peter Greenaway was born in Newport in Wales in 1942.
In 1962 he started studying at the Walthamstow College of Art in London, decided to become a painter. In 1965 he joined the Central Office of Information (COI), where he remained for the next eleven years as a film editor and then a director. His first narrative feature film, The Draughtsman's Contract, completed in 1982, received great critical acclaim and established him internationally as one of the most important and original film makers of our times.
Among his movies: The Belly of an architect (1987); Drowning by numbers (1988); The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989); Prospero’s Books (1991); The Pillow Book (1995) and Eight & A Half Woman (1999). Recently he presented his Nightwatching (2007) and The Marriage (2008) at the Venice Film Festival.
He has continued to make cinema in a great variety of ways, which has also informed his curatorial work and the making of exhibitions and installations in Europe from the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and the Joan Miro Gallery in Barcelona to the Boymans van Beuningen Gallery in Rotterdam and the Louvre in Paris. He has made 12 feature films and some 50 short-films and documentaries, been regularly nominated for the Film Festival Competitions of Cannes, Venice and Berlin, published books, written opera librettos, and collaborated with composers Michael Nyman, Glen Branca, Wim Mertens, Jean-Baptiste Barrière, Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, Borut Krzisnik and David Lang.
The world première of Rosa, A Horse Drama (1994) marked his première as an opera director and librettist. In 1997 he invented the modern prop-opera 100 Objects to Represent the World. The opera Writing to Vermeer (1999) has been shown in Amsterdam, Adelaide and New York.
In collaboration with Saskia Boddeke he has recently conceived the exhibition Children of Uranium (Genoa and Naples, 2005) and the theatre productions Rembrandt’s Mirror (Rotterdam, 2007) and The Blue Planet (Zaragoza 2008).
In 2006 Greenaway opens with Rembrant's Nightwatching a series of dialogues between cinema and painting entitled Nine Classic Paintings Revisited that continues in 2008 with the multimedia installation on Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper and in 2009 with Veronese's The Wedding at Cana at Cini's Foundation in San Giorgio Island, Venice.
For the Italian Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, he designed the multimedia installation Italy of the Cities, confirming through this project the relevance of cities as the product and the expression of the Italian culture.