Roman Ruins, Villa Pamfili

Hubert Robert (French, 1733-1808)1774

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

While living in Italy, Robert developed a fondness for classical architecture, making countless drawings that served as the basis for paintings and prints for decades after he returned to Paris. Denis Diderot (1713–1784), a French philosopher and art critic, nicknamed the artist “Robert of Ruins” due to Robert’s enduring interest in the subject. A quaint commentary on the passage of time, this drawing portrays the activities of contemporary life among the weathered remains of an ancient Roman building. Despite the traditional title of the drawing, there is no evidence that such ruins ever existed at the Villa Pamphili. The towering columns supporting a decorative frieze may instead derive from the Roman Forum’s Temple of Saturn.

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  • Title: Roman Ruins, Villa Pamfili
  • Creator: Hubert Robert (French, 1733-1808)
  • Date Created: 1774
  • Provenance: Private Coll., France, Wildenstein & Co., NY, H. G. Dalton, Cleveland, H. D. Kendrick, Cleveland, Private Coll., France; (Wildenstein & Co., NY); H. G. Dalton, Cleveland; H. D. Kendrick, Cleveland
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1951.485
  • Medium: Pen and black ink and watercolor with black chalk underdrawing and heightened with white gouache on cream laid paper
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: France, 18th century
  • Credit Line: Gift of Harry D. Kendrick
  • Collection: DR - French
  • Accession Number: 1951.485

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