Martin has published extensively on Leonardo, Renaissance art, and links between art and science. A comprehensive list of publications can be found here.
The central theme of his research has been the relationship between scientific models of nature and the theory and practice of art. Increasingly it has concerned issues of visualisation, modelling and representation common to science and art. He wrote on ‘Art and Science’, ‘Science and Image’, and “Science and Culture’ regularly in Nature for more than ten years. A major focus has been the art and writings of Leonardo da Vinci, culminating in the prize-winning Leonardo da Vinci.. A book on the new Leonardo portrait, which is have christened La Bella Principessa, was published in the spring of 2010.
The summation of the optical researches is The Science of Art. The Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, Yale University Press, 1990 and 1992. Anatomical themes and related topics from natural history and the ‘hard’ sciences are being explored in two books written during his 5 years as British Academy Wolfson Research Professor; Seen and Unseen. Visual Angles on Art and Science; and Visualizations. The ‘Nature’ Book of Science and Art.
The broad thrust of more recent work is devoted to a history of the visual, which embraces the wide range of artefacts from science, technology and the fine and applied arts that have been devised to articulate our visual relationship to the physical world. A scientific diagram or computer graphic model of a molecule is as relevant to this new history as a painting by Michelangelo. Direct expressions of this vision are to be found in the Centre for Visual Studies which I founded in Oxford.
Note: Visualizations - The Nature book of Art and Science and Behind the Picture are currently out of print.