Hubert Robert France
5-22-1733 Paris, FRA - 4-15-1808 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Hubert Robert finished his studies with the Jesuits at the Collège de Navarre in 1751 and entered the atelier of the sculptor Michel-Ange Slodtz who taught him design and perspective but encouraged him to turn to painting. In 1754 he left for Rome in the train of Étienne-François de Choiseul, he spent fully eleven years in Rome, a remarkable length of time; after the young artist's official residence at the French Academy in Rome ran out, he supported himself by works he produced for visiting connoisseurs like the abbé de Saint-Non, who took Robert to Naples in April 1760 to visit the ruins of Pompeii.
The contrast between the ruins of ancient Rome and the life of his time excited his keenest interest. Hubert Robert worked for a time in the studio of Pannini, whose influence can be seen in the Vue Imaginaire de la Galerie Du Louvre en Ruine. Robert spent his time in the company of young artists in the circle of Piranesi, whose capricci of romantically overgrown ruins influenced him so greatly that he gained the nickname Robert des ruines.
Hubert Robert success on his return to Paris in 1765 was rapid: the following year he was received by the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, with a Roman capriccio, The Port of Rome, ornamented with different Monuments of Architecture, Ancient and Modern.
Hubert Robert was arrested in October 1793, during the French Revolution. He survived his detentions by painting vignettes of prison life on plates before he was freed at the fall of Robespierre. Robert narrowly escaped the guillotine when through error another prisoner died in his place. Subsequently he was placed on the committee of five in charge of the new national museum at the Palais du Louvre.
Hubert Robert deserves to be remembered not so much for his skill as a painter, but as for the liveliness and point with which he treated the subjects he painted. Along with this incessant activity as an artist, his daring character and many adventures attracted general admiration and sympathy.
Hubert Robert's name is invariably invoked in connection with Marie Antoinette's 'premier architecte' Richard Mique through several phases of the creation of an informal landscape garden at the Petit Trianon, and the setting of the petit hameau. Robert's contribution to garden design was not in making practical ground plans for improvements but in providing atmospheric inspiration for the proposed effect.
Art Movement: Romanticism
Influences: Michel-Ange Slodtz, Étienne-François de Choiseul