Antique Ruins with Figures
Antique Ruins with Figures, ca. 1765-1778
Pen and ink, brush and wash, watercolor, and white heightening over black chalk on paper
56.5 x 71.9 cm (22 1/4 x 28 5/16 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 38.152
(February 3 –July 8, 2012)
This drawing is typical of Hubert Robert’s classical fantasies, which combine elements from various Roman buildings and ruins. In this scene, fragments of columns and relief sculpture in the foreground suggest a distinctly Italian setting. Likewise, the pyramid, despite the Egyptian statues at its door, resembles in its modest scale the Pyramid of Caius Cestius in Rome, a tribute not to a pharaoh, but to an ancient Roman military commander. The loose classical robes worn by the figures leave the time period unclear. Robert created many large-scale drawings like this, based on studies made in Italy between 1754 and 1765. His works inspired later artists to use Italian architecture and landscape as inspiration for expressing their own moods and fantasies.(April 9 –July 11, 2004)
Hubert Robert was a resident of the French Academy in Rome from 1754 to 1765. Young French artists who were awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome would study and live in the Academy’s building at the expense of the French government. Plaster copies of ancient statues, not only from Rome, but from all of Italy, were available on the premises as a convenient means for students to train in drawing. Robert’s fantasy of an enormous pyramid surrounded by Greek and Roman ruins was likely inspired by Piranesi’s imaginative architectural etchings with their dramatic scale and tonal effects.
Edited ByWoolsey, Ann, ed.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008
TypeMonographs and CollectionsOld Master Drawings from the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Contributions byJohnson, Deborah J.
Publisher & DateStinehour Press, 1983
TypeExhibition CatalogueThe Theater That Was Rome16th-18th Century Views and Maps
Edited BySingsen, Judith A., ed.
Contributions byLincoln, Evelyn
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design., 2004
TypeJournalsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections