The exhibition will go on display to the public from the 27th September.

Birth of the Milky Way by Peter Paul Rubens. (c)Photographic Archive Museo Nacional del Prado Madrid

This autumn, the Dulwich Picture Gallery will present Rubens & Women, a major exhibition of the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). Uniting a diverse range of paintings and drawings from throughout Rubens’s career, the exhibition will challenge the popular assumption that the artist painted only one type of woman, providing instead a more nuanced view of the varied and important place occupied by women, both real and imagined, in his world.

The display will bring together 40 paintings and drawings along with archive material to highlight the essential ways in which Rubens’s relationships with women nourished his creativity and career –from the role played by his female patrons and family members to his profound faith,artistic beliefs, and great loves.

Rubens & Women will open with a series of portraits of elegant, elite and powerful women shown alongside intimate depictions of his two wives, Isabella Brant andHelena Fourment, and his eldest daughter, Clara Serena. Highlights will include Portraitof a Woman(c.1625) from the Royal Collection Trust and one of Rubens most lavish portraits Marchesa Maria Serra Pallavicino or Marchesa Veronica Spinola Doria(1606-7) from the National Trust.

Meanwhile, a further theme to be explored in the display will follow the evolution of the female nude in Rubens’s art. It will demonstrate how Rubens’s early nudes were quite different in style from those he became famous for, with highlights including Ceres and Two Nymphs. The exhibition will also capture how the women in Rubens’s art were not simply passive objects to be observed, but active agents of their own destiny, and a powerful finaleto the show will include large-scale paintings of heroic mythological women with highlights includingThe Birth of the Milky Way(1636 – 1638) from the Museo del Prado,Madrid, on display in the UK for the first time,Diana Returning from the Hunt(c.1615)from Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Venus, Marsand Cupid (c. 1614).

Jennifer Scott, Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: “This exhibition will shed new light on the women depicted by Rubens, presenting complex heroines based on inspirational women in the artist’s own life. With significant works from the Gallery’s collection shown alongside international masterpieces on display in the UK for the first time, this is an exciting opportunity for audiences to reconnect with one of art history’s most famous figures.”

To book tickets for the exhibition visit:


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