- Hubert Robert
- The Teatro delle Acque in the garden of the Villa Aldobrandini
- oil on canvas
- 17 x 27 inches
His sale, Paris, Galerie George Petit, 21-22 June 1920, lot 101;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 13 December 2000, lot 60;
There purchased by the present collector.
London, Wildenstein, Important Paintings of the French XVIII Century, 1956, no. 18;
London, Royal Academy, France in the Eighteenth Century, 1968, p. 111, no. 584, p. 30, fig. 15;
New York, Didier Aaron, Hubert Robert, Paintings and Drawings, 7 May 2008–13 June 2008.
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The original style of the villa, dominated by the more modest Villa Contugi, was inherited by Pope Clement VIII in 1598, who bequeathed it to his nephew and secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini (1572-1621). In 1601 Aldobrandini commissioned a design from the leading Roman architect of the period, Giacomo della Porta (1532-1602), for its reconstruction, which was completed soon after the architect’s death in 1602, under the supervision of Carlo Maderno.
The grandiose style of the villa, with the elegant façade, surmounted by the monumental broken pediment, and framed from behind by a series of over sized ramps, made Villa Aldobrandini one of the most important inspirations for 17th- century baroque villas. The focal point and greatest achievement of della Porta's design (though ultimately carried out by Maderno just after 1602) was the grand Teatro delle Acque, so called for the niche sculptures which frame the fountain and which were designed by Giovanni Gugliemi featuring a hydraulic delivery system. The torrent from which which came together cascaded down the hillside, passing through the central arch of the structure and into a central basin at its foot.