Rubens in Caribbean Colour in Dulwich Picture Gallery

Anthony Daley is a celebrated British artist whose abstract paintings have been exhibited internationally. He first encountered the work of 17th century Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens as a nine-year-old boy living in Jamaica. 

This was the start of a life-long fascination which finds expression in a new show in Dulwich Picture Gallery. Son of Rubens consists of 12 paintings by Daley which are all inspired by Venus, Mars and Cupid, painted by Rubens in 1635 and part of the the gallery’s collection.

These are extraordinary, large-scale pieces which pay homage to the original, not in any obvious visual way, but fleetingly, via shapes and forms and positioning. Venus, Mars and Cupid is painted in the sombre colours of Europe at war and using very traditional imagery, expresses the hope that love will triumph over war and bring peace.

Daley’s work is full of gorgeous colours, dancing off the canvases. They are joyful, dynamic pieces, with intriguing titles, full of hope and wonder. Some have more definition than others – almost as if they are stages of coming in and out of focus. And many have muted backgrounds which serve as calm settings for smaller visual dramas in the foreground. But they are not looking back; rather Daley is interpreting Rubens and opening up a playful conversation with contemporary, abstract art.

The display is curated by Lisa Anderson, Managing Director of the Black Cultural Archives who said:

“It’s been thrilling to open up this opportunity for Anthony Daley, a phenomenal painter whose work is so deserving of this platform and exposure. I’m delighted to have curated a show that will widen appreciation of the immense talent that exists within contemporary British painting and the fact that he shares my African-Caribbean heritage makes me immensely proud.”

Son of Rubens runs until 12 March 2023 in Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, SE21 7AD.

Open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday.

For further information, including the range of ticket prices, call 020 8693 5254 or visit