Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery England's first public art gallery We are open! Book now to see Berthe Morisot: Shaping Impressionism and our freshly presented collection and display.
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Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery: it was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bequeathed his collection of old masters “for the inspection of the public”. Today the Gallery is a vibrant cultural hub hosting some of the UK’s leading exhibitions alongside its Permanent Collection of Baroque masterpieces while staging a wide-ranging programme of public events, practical art and community engagement.

If you are currently still feeling like sleeping Cupid here, we have some exciting events coming up to help you get thro...
05/01/2024

If you are currently still feeling like sleeping Cupid here, we have some exciting events coming up to help you get through January:

Friday 12 Jan
A magical concert in the gallery with mezzo soprano and leading historical keyboard player Terence Charlston.

Tuesday 16 Jan
‘Unlocking Paintings: A Collection Guidebook’ Book Launch
Our Director Jennifer Scott and Curator Helen Hillyard will discuss our brand new publication. ‘Unlocking Paintings’ is a universal guidebook designed to ‘unlock’ the secrets behind any work of art.

Friday 19 Jan - Rubens International Study Day
Join us for a study day examining the art of Rubens from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, with leading academics in Rubens studies.

Saturday 20 Jan - Lie Down and Listen
Enjoy a special listening event in the Gallery accompanied by Tibetan bowl sound healing and live classical harp including music by Philip Glass and Debussy.

Head to ‘What’s On’ via the 🔗 to learn more and book.

Image: Sleeping Cupid, Venetian School, Bourgeois Bequest, 1811

This small painting by one of the Le Nain brothers shows three musicians. The Le Nain brothers were unusual for their ti...
31/12/2023

This small painting by one of the Le Nain brothers shows three musicians. The Le Nain brothers were unusual for their time, as three French painters representing ordinary scenes rather than heroic deeds. This painting elevates an ordinary event with a number of arresting details. Notice the still life on the table, along with the figure of the boy to the right, with theatrically dressed in slashed sleeves.

Whether you’re heading to a big do this evening, or having a humble night in like these three, we wish you a very happy new year. We are very excited about what’s in store for 2024 and look forward to seeing you at the Gallery then!

Image: Attributed to Mathieu Le Nain, Musicians, c.1650

This scene by Rubens shows an encounter between chaste female nymphs and unruly male satyrs. The goddess Diana is shown ...
29/12/2023

This scene by Rubens shows an encounter between chaste female nymphs and unruly male satyrs. The goddess Diana is shown in the pose of a classical male hero; her muscular arms convey strength, with one she holds a spear, and with the other the spoils of the hunt.

She wears a red chiton, a garment also worn by the Amazons, a fierce race of female warriors that Rubens also painted. The exposure of the right breast suggests military power: Rubens was to present the queen mother of France, Maria de’ Medici in the same way years later.

Discover Rubens & Women before it ends on 28 Jan. Book via the 🔗

Image: Peter Paul Rubens, Diana Returning from the Hunt, c.1615, oil on canvas, 136 x 184 cm. Courtesy Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Dulwich Picture Gallery!Image: Peter Paul Rubens, The Virgin in Adoration before the Ch...
25/12/2023

Merry Christmas from everyone at Dulwich Picture Gallery!

Image: Peter Paul Rubens, The Virgin in Adoration before the Christ Child, c. 1616 - 1619, Oil on panel, 65 x 50 cm, KBC Bank, Antwerp, Museum Snyders&Rockox House

🎄⏰ Festive Opening HoursWe look forward to welcoming you over the festive season. Please check the opening times on our ...
22/12/2023

🎄⏰ Festive Opening Hours

We look forward to welcoming you over the festive season. Please check the opening times on our website before your visit.

The Gallery, Gardens and Café will be closed:

Christmas Eve CLOSED
Christmas Day CLOSED
Boxing Day CLOSED
New Year’s Day CLOSED

On New Year’s Eve we will be open from 10am-2pm.

Happy Winter Solstice, the shortest (and darkest!) day of the year! Did it feel like the middle of the night when you wo...
21/12/2023

Happy Winter Solstice, the shortest (and darkest!) day of the year!

Did it feel like the middle of the night when you woke up this morning? This nocturnal painting by Arent de Gelder shows the sleeping figure of Jacob in a dark landscape at the moment where he receives a nighttime vision. He dreams of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven on which angels, bathed in golden light, are ascending and descending.

Image: Arent de Gelder, Jacob’s Dream, c.1715

Introducing our new book! 📚‘Unlocking Paintings: A Guide to Historic Art’ was written by our Director Jennifer Scott and...
19/12/2023

Introducing our new book! 📚

‘Unlocking Paintings: A Guide to Historic Art’ was written by our Director Jennifer Scott and Curator Helen Hillyard. It’s a guidebook designed to ‘unlock’ the secrets behind any work of art. Using our collection as a springboard, it serves as a toolkit for deciphering the secrets of masterpieces in museums and galleries. 🔎

The book will be available online in the new year, but you can grab a copy in our shop now (and we think it makes for the ideal stocking filler).

Jennifer and Helen will be giving a talk on the book on Tuesday 16 January.

This delicate sketch is one of three female head studies that Rubens undertook in preparation for a large altarpiece for...
17/12/2023

This delicate sketch is one of three female head studies that Rubens undertook in preparation for a large altarpiece for the chapel of the Brotherhood of Saint Ildefonso in St James’s Church on the Coudenberg in Brussels, many elements of which still survive.

Drawings from life were then used to refine details of a scene, such as the angle and expression of the sitter’s heads. The head of the woman seen here, with her wavy dark hair pinned up and her face inclined downwards, was to become that of the Virgin in the finished altarpiece.

Black chalk has been used for the outlines of the woman’s head and hair, with red chalk giving volume to her features and warmth to her skin. 

Details from this drawing are faithfully transposed into the large painting; the fragile lines that edge the woman’s hair in the drawing form a loose, gossamer veil around the Virgin’s head in the painting, from which golden light emanates.

Discover many small masterpieces like this in Rubens & Women - hit the link for our festive opening times!

Peter Paul Rubens, Head of a Woman Looking Downward [Study for the Head of the Virgin in the Saint Ildefonso Altarpiece}, c. 1630-3,, Black chalk, red chalk heightened with white chalk, 19.2 x 16.5 cm, The Albertina Museum, Vienna

Looking for a nifty last-minute Christmas gift? We have a number of products on sale from our Rubens range - head to our...
14/12/2023

Looking for a nifty last-minute Christmas gift? We have a number of products on sale from our Rubens range - head to our shop to see more.

Or if you’re looking for treating someone with an extra special gift, don’t miss forget our &sewell scarf, perfect for these chilly festive days.

Order by end of the day tomorrow to guarantee shipping in time for the big day!

Need an activity to entertain your little ones this weekend? Make sure to stop by our Family Festival celebrating Winter...
13/12/2023

Need an activity to entertain your little ones this weekend?

Make sure to stop by our Family Festival celebrating Winter Light 🕯️ & Peter Paul Rubens 🎨
Saturday 16 December 11am-4pm
Kids go FREE

Take part in creative workshops
Follow the art trail
Relax in the quiet space
Baby Red - sensory colour space

Entry to the Rubens & Women exhibition is included with your tickets, just use your booking code to reserve a time slot.

This intimate drawing is dated to the last decade of Rubens’s career. By this time the artist had spent time in Spain an...
10/12/2023

This intimate drawing is dated to the last decade 
of Rubens’s career. By this time the artist had spent time in Spain and copied many of Titian’s mythological n**es in the Spanish Royal Collection. But the character of this drawing suggests a different source -  his second wife, Helena Fourment.

The n**e woman is rendered in red chalk, a medium that was typically used by Rubens for faces and hands in portrait studies, evocative of living flesh tones. 

While it is surprising to imagine that a woman of Helena’s social status would have posed naked, the woman’s steady gaze and the attention paid to depicting her n**e body and accessories suggest that the artist was working from life and drawing on his personal relationships. 

We can only imagine that, like ‘Het Pelsken’, this rare drawing was not intended for public viewing. 

Discover Rubens & Women this December - book via the link in our bio.

Image: Peter Paul Rubens, Study of a Seated Woman, Turned to the Right, c. 1633-35, Red and black chalk, heightened with white body-colour and traces of brush and brown ink in the hair, 46.3 x 28.3 cm, Photo (c) RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Christmas has come to the Gallery!Don't miss a fantastic series of festive events taking place here this month, includin...
04/12/2023

Christmas has come to the Gallery!

Don't miss a fantastic series of festive events taking place here this month, including a special concert with this Wednesday, wreaking making workshops happening on Thursday and Saturday, and our winter-themed Family Festival on Saturday 16 December.

Head to the 🔗 to see what’s on

With thanks to for providing our gorgeous trees! 🎄

'This show is just heavenly' Read the London Evening Standard's ★★★★★ review of Rubens & Women: https://dpg.art/6XDt1W
30/11/2023

'This show is just heavenly'

Read the London Evening Standard's ★★★★★ review of Rubens & Women: https://dpg.art/6XDt1W

Announced today! Opening in June 2024, our summer exhibition will bring together artworks by the Yoshida family, a Japan...
28/11/2023

Announced today! Opening in June 2024, our summer exhibition will bring together artworks by the Yoshida family, a Japanese artistic dynasty including Yoshida Hiroshi, Fujio, Tōshi, Hodaka, Chizuko and Ayomi. The first of its kind in the UK and Europe, this exhibition will shine a spotlight on three generations of woodblock print artists and trace the evolution of Japanese printmaking across two centuries.

Yoshida: Three Generations of Japanese Printmaking will culminate with a new site-specific installation of cherry blossom by Yoshida Ayomi, Hodaka’s and Chizuko’s daughter.

Head to https://dpg.art/yoshida to learn more and sign up to our enews to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.

Image: Yoshida Hiroshi, El Capitan, 1925. Courtesy Fukuoka Art Museum

Next Friday is our 🆓 Winter Late, inspired by Rubens & Women! We will be exploring new ways of seeing, recognising and c...
22/11/2023

Next Friday is our 🆓 Winter Late, inspired by Rubens & Women!

We will be exploring new ways of seeing, recognising and celebrating in a series of events exploring the idea of beauty today. Be sure to grab a free ticket via the 🔗

On the line up:
📽️ Permissible Beauty - a new installation from .mcalmont and screening with Q&A     
🎵 Music from Pak Yan Lau; &
🖼️ Drop in and draw life drawing from
📝 Collage Storytelling
🔮 Oracle Card Readings with artist duo 
🗣️ Picture Description Tours
🍸Drinks from the Gimlet Bar 

Images: Drinks, David McAlmont, Robert Taylor, Park Yan Lau, Gorges Ocloo, Bertel Schollaert, Collage Storytelling, Yara + Davina

Would you like to help shape one of our forthcoming exhibitions? We are seeking participants to take part in a focus gro...
17/11/2023

Would you like to help shape one of our forthcoming exhibitions? We are seeking participants to take part in a focus group.

As a thank you for your time, you'll receive a gift voucher and a pair of complimentary tickets to Rubens & Women.

https://tinyurl.com/bdz64hn4

Here’s what the press are saying about Rubens & Women:“Staggering” The Guardian ★ ★ ★ ★ ★“Exquisite” The Times        ★ ...
15/11/2023

Here’s what the press are saying about Rubens & Women:

“Staggering” The Guardian ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Exquisite” The Times ★ ★ ★ ★

“What this lovely exhibition shows is that real women interested him more than idealised ones and in his study of them he was faithful, tireless and diligent too” New Statesman

“It achieves what decades of blockbuster shows have failed to do: it wins sympathy for Rubens the intimate, sincere, convincing artist of the heart.” The Financial Times

Discover Rubens & Women for yourself – until 28 January 2023. Book via https://dpg.art/rubens-and-women

Rubens & Women co-curator Dr Amy Orrock joins  on Monday evening 6-7pm for a special illustrated talk, bringing the stor...
10/11/2023

Rubens & Women co-curator Dr Amy Orrock joins on Monday evening 6-7pm for a special illustrated talk, bringing the story of our ground-breaking Rubens & Women exhibition to life through a discussion of key works. Find out more and book tickets via the link, ticket proceeds help to support UK museums and arts based organisations:

Monday 13 November 2023, 6-7pm Curator Amy Orrock explores the role of women in the work of Peter Paul Rubens in Dulwich Picture Gallery’s major exhibition and challenges the assumption he painted only one type of woman. Discover another side to Rubens and the powerful women, both

What can we learn from the fashionable clothes worn by sitters in portraits?Rubens was one of the best portraitists of h...
02/11/2023

What can we learn from the fashionable clothes worn by sitters in portraits?

Rubens was one of the best portraitists of his time, as we can see from the affectionate likenesses he made of his family, often dressed in their finery. This portrait is thought to be of his sister in-law, Elisabeth Fourment.

She wears a daring outfit that was the height of the French fashions adopted by elites in the Spanish Netherlands during the 1620s and 1630s. It consists of a black satin overgown with a gold, square-cut bodice, white and gold paned virago sleeves, linen cuffs and a fan-shaped standing collar, edged with lace. The red rose and sprig of myrtle in her hair may stand for love and fidelity, and her beautifully painted hands, which loosely cradle her waist, could indicate her hopes for a family. We know the artist enlarged this painting to create more space for his sitters outfit, showing how important every detail was for him.

Discover Rubens & Women this weekend. Book tickets via the 🔗

Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of a Woman, c.1625–1630. Oil on panel. 86.8 x 59.3cm, Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

It’s Halloween! we are exploring the ‘ghostly’ secrets behind our paintings, thanks to the power of X-rays 🩻 Rubens: Ven...
31/10/2023

It’s Halloween! we are exploring the ‘ghostly’ secrets behind our paintings, thanks to the power of X-rays 🩻
 
Rubens: Venus Mars and Cupid 
 
X-rays can pass through most solid objects but are obstructed by certain materials, such as lead-based pigments. This means that earlier changes using lead white paint become visible. 
 
During the course of painting, Rubens changed the position of Cupid’s leg. At one stage it was bent so that his foot rested on Venus’s knee 🦵
 
Murillo’s Flower Girl 
  
X-ray imaging revealed that the Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo reused a canvas for his painting of the Flower Girl. Beneath the paint surface of the Flower Girl, the bottom half of another painting of the Virgin Mary is visible when the canvas is turned sideways. The Virgin would have been standing on a crescent moon, and the curving moon can be glimpsed in this x-ray imaging – extending down from the Flower Girl’s arm, through her body and out through her right cheek. 🌙
  
Reynolds, An Officer on Horseback  
  
This study for an equestrian portrait was the third composition that the artist Joshua Reynolds painted onto the same piece of canvas. Two abandoned portraits are visible in the X-ray of the painting – one of a young boy above the horse’s mane, the other an older man, now upside down, just below. X-ray imaging reveals the ghostly portraits beneath the paint surface. 👴

Can you spot all these ghostly details? Let us know!
 
1-2 Peter Paul Rubens, Venus, Mars and Cupid, c.1635 
3-4 Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Flower Girl,  
5-6, Sir Joshua Reynolds, An Officer on Horseback, c.1760s

It’s Halloween! we are exploring the ‘ghostly’ secrets behind our paintings, thanks to the power of X-rays 🩻 Rubens: Ven...
31/10/2023

It’s Halloween! we are exploring the ‘ghostly’ secrets behind our paintings, thanks to the power of X-rays 🩻

Rubens: Venus Mars and Cupid

X-rays can pass through most solid objects but are obstructed by certain materials, such as lead-based pigments. This means that earlier changes using lead white paint become visible.

During the course of painting, Rubens changed the position of Cupid’s leg. At one stage it was bent so that his foot rested on Venus’s knee.

Murillo’s Flower Girl

X-ray imaging revealed that the Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo reused a canvas for his painting of the Flower Girl (1665-70). Beneath the paint surface of the Flower Girl, the bottom half of another painting of the Virgin Mary is visible when the canvas is turned sideways. The Virgin would have been standing on a crescent moon, and the curving moon can be glimpsed in this x-ray imaging – extending down from the Flower Girl’s arm, through her body and out through her right cheek.

Reynolds, An Officer on Horseback

This study for an equestrian portrait was the third composition that the artist Joshua Reynolds painted onto the same piece of canvas. Two abandoned portraits are visible in the X-ray of the painting – one of a young boy above the horse’s mane, the other an older man, now upside down, just below. X-ray imaging reveals the ghostly portraits beneath the paint surface.


1-2 Peter Paul Rubens, Venus, Mars and Cupid, c.1635

3-4 Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Flower Girl,

5-6, Sir Joshua Reynolds, An Officer on Horseback, c.1760s

M 👻 It’s Halloween! we are exploring the ‘ghostly’ secrets behind our paintings, thanks to the power of X-rays 🩻 Rubens:...
31/10/2023

M 👻 It’s Halloween! we are exploring the ‘ghostly’ secrets behind our paintings, thanks to the power of X-rays 🩻
 
Rubens: Venus Mars and Cupid 
 
X-rays can pass through most solid objects but are obstructed by certain materials, such as lead-based pigments. This means that earlier changes using lead white paint become visible. 
 
During the course of painting, Rubens changed the position of Cupid’s leg. At one stage it was bent so that his foot rested on Venus’s knee. This painting is currently on display as part of Rubens & Women!
 
Murillo’s Flower Girl 
  
X-ray imaging revealed that the Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo reused a canvas for his painting of the Flower Girl. Beneath the paint surface of the Flower Girl, the bottom half of another painting of the Virgin Mary is visible when the canvas is turned sideways. The Virgin would have been standing on a crescent moon, and the curving moon can be glimpsed in this x-ray imaging – extending down from the Flower Girl’s arm, through her body and out through her right cheek. 
  
Reynolds, An Officer on Horseback  
  
This study for an equestrian portrait was the third composition that the artist Joshua Reynolds painted onto the same piece of canvas. Two abandoned portraits are visible in the X-ray of the painting – one of a young boy above the horse’s mane, the other an older man, now upside down, just below. X-ray imaging reveals the ghostly portraits beneath the paint surface. 

Can you spot all these ghostly details? Let us know!
 
1-2 Peter Paul Rubens, Venus, Mars and Cupid, c.1635 
3-4 Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Flower Girl,  
5-6, Sir Joshua Reynolds, An Officer on Horseback, c.1760s 
a caption...

Rubens had a profoundly visual memory.On his travels in Italy between 1600 and 1608 he was mesmerised not only by ancien...
23/10/2023

Rubens had a profoundly visual memory.

On his travels in Italy between 1600 and 1608 he was mesmerised not only by ancient sculpture but also
by the work of Italian Renaissance artists, most especially Michelangelo.

This drawing contains copies of the figure of Night, one of four marble figures sculpted by Michelangelo on the Medici family tombs in the Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy) in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence. Rubens probably made the core part of the drawing on the spot, as the light corresponds exactly with the light on the sculpture there.

Rubens took from Michelangelo’s n**e women a sense of strength. Ancient sculptures and ideal
physiognomies of the sixteenth century were to have a profound effect on Rubens’s formation of the female n**e in the following century. 

Discover Rubens & Women, until 28 January (book via the 🔗)

Peter Paul Rubens after Michelangelo, Night, c. 1600-3, paper, black chalk, brown wash, goache  , 36 x 49.5 cm. Foundation Custodia Frits Lugt

Dutch Golden Age painter Aelbert Cuyp was  .Here's a film we made with our Curator Helen Hillyard about his diminutive m...
20/10/2023

Dutch Golden Age painter Aelbert Cuyp was .

Here's a film we made with our Curator Helen Hillyard about his diminutive masterpiece 'A River Landscape'.

In the first video of our new In the Frame series, Curator Helen Hillyard explores the depths behind Aelbert Cuyp's diminutive painting A River Landscape.Exp...

🛠️ Join our team We're looking for a Site Assistant to support our team in maintaining the Site, Offices and Gallery.  D...
16/10/2023

🛠️ Join our team
We're looking for a Site Assistant to support our team in maintaining the Site, Offices and Gallery.

Deadline: Sunday 5 November.

Find out more and apply:

Find out about our current vacancies and be a part of the team at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

This half-length portrait of a handsome young woman is arguably one of Rubens’s most compelling early portraits. Still a...
11/10/2023

This half-length portrait of a handsome young woman is arguably one of Rubens’s most compelling early portraits. Still a young man and an emerging artist, Rubens succeeded in convincingly recording the sitter’s physical presence and capturing her character and psychological make up. She gazes at the viewer with an almost daring invitation to be taken seriously.

The Spanish fashion of high ruff and elegant bodice are swiftly sketched, and the sitter plays with a gold chain in her right hand. The sketchiness of the paint application, with the edges of the work left unfinished, may indicate that this is a study for a more finished portrait. Alternatively, it may simply be a clever device to impress the viewer into wonderment at the precision of the artist even while painting at speed.

If you’re keen to learn more about Rubens’ remarkable career, our curator’s talk with co-curator Dr Amy Orrock takes place at the Gallery tomorrow – final tickets are available via the 🔗

Discover a different side of Peter Paul Rubens in our new exhibition Rubens & Women (book via the 🔗).

Friends go Free to all our exhibitions.

Image: Peter Paul Rubens Portrait of a Young Woman Holding a Chain c. 1603–1606 Oil on canvas 85.5 x 66 cm, The Klesch Collection

French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau was born on this day in 1684. Read a piece by our curator Helen Hillyard on h...
10/10/2023

French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau was born on this day in 1684.

Read a piece by our curator Helen Hillyard on his celebrated work from our collection, Les Plaisirs du Bal: https://dpg.art/AaJlTk

Its  , so we're highlighting our offer for teachers: from studio sessions inspired by our collection and exhibitions to ...
05/10/2023

Its , so we're highlighting our offer for teachers: from studio sessions inspired by our collection and exhibitions to self-led tours. We love teachers, let us help you!

https://dpg.art/schools

Rubens & Women co-curator Dr Amy Orrock was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Front Row yesterday by Samira Ahmed.Listen back...
04/10/2023

Rubens & Women co-curator Dr Amy Orrock was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Front Row yesterday by Samira Ahmed.

Listen back to a fascinating discussion:

Samira talks to Patsy Ferran, discusses Rubens' women and explores black British cinema.

We are pleased to introduce our new display by .shamma.artist.In Bold Spirits, Shamma responds to the Gallery’s historic...
29/09/2023

We are pleased to introduce our new display by .shamma.artist.

In Bold Spirits, Shamma responds to the Gallery’s historic Collection with a focus on paintings of women. Shamma's new works channel the spirits of these female figures while also connecting them to moments from her own life, retelling their stories for contemporary viewers.

Each of Shamma’s paintings presents a powerful and thought-provoking interpretation of works by artists including Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Lely, Anthony van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens. Shamma explores identity, death, motherhood and unexpected beauty in works that demonstrate her technical expertise as an artist, as well as her long-standing appreciation of the Old Masters.

Viewable as part of your ticket to Rubens & Women (book via the 🔗)

Photos by Graham Turner

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Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery: it was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bequeathed his collection of old masters “for the inspection of the public”. Today the Gallery is a vibrant cultural hub hosting some of the UK’s leading exhibitions alongside its Collection of Baroque masterpieces, while staging a wide-ranging programme of public events and community engagement.


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