From Rembrandt to Hockney, the ‘woman in the window’ is a recurring theme in art from ancient times right up to the present day – explore how this ever-changing motif has been adapted overtime to represent gender and visibility in a contemporary world.

The exhibition explores key geographic locations, cultures and time periods in which the motif of the ‘woman in the window’ has had a particular meaning, and how artists have used it to elicit responses ranging from empathy to voyeurism.

Works featured include Dulwich Picture Gallery’s own Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window (1645) which was the first work to inspire the exhibition, David Hockney’s etching inspired by the Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812), The Tower Had One Window (1969) and Louise Bourgeois’ gouache painting My Blue Sky (1989-2003).

Alongside works of sculpture, painting, print, photography and installation, there will also be several ancient pieces loaned by the British Museum, including a 10th-century ivory panel and a Roman tomb – these works reveal the early history of the motif and how it was used to represent themes crucial to society at the time, like power and the afterlife.

The list of artists featured in this exhibition is long and varied, from the crème de la crème of the Dutch Golden Age and modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, to contemporary trailblazers like Marina Abramovic. Their works will sit side-by-side to demonstrate how one concept can be interpreted and executed in many ways, exploring themes as wide-ranging as spectatorship, desire and domesticity.

There will be a particular focus on the women artists who have reclaimed the motif as their own throughout history, plus a special selection of works created during the during the coronavirus pandemic where lockdown gave the motif a whole new meaning once more.

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ConceptualPaintingPhotographyPrints & drawingsSculpture19th century artAncient & classical artContemporary artMedieval artModern artLondonArt gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Gallery Road, London, Greater London, SE21 7AD



Opening times

Weds - Sun, 10am – 5pm (Last Entry 4pm) Monday, Tuesday Closed (except Bank Holiday Mondays) Open on Bank Holidays, 10am – 5pm.

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