Robert continued to return to his drawings of Italian ruins for inspiration once he returned to France, eventually earning the sobriquet "Robert des Ruines." A similar depiction of an ancient circular temple to that in the first of the present paintings, for example, also appears in a painting by the artist of 1784,1 and a structure similar to the broken columns beneath a cornice on the right of the second painting is featured in a work by the artist which sold at Sotheby's London in 2012.2 The present pair was painted in 1780, the year Robert moved with his family into the Louvre, where he was granted a studio. Though he was a prolific painter throughout his life, there are few known paintings by the artist from this year.
The pair will be included in the catalogue raisonné of the paintings of Hubert Robert, to be published by the Wildenstein Institute.
1. Antique Capriccio with the Statue of Marcus Aurelius, oil on canvas, 161 by 117 cm, signed and dated 1784. Musée du Louvre, Paris, on deposit at the Embassy of France, London (7636). See M. M. Grasselli and Y. Jackall, Hubert Robert, Washington 2016, cat. no. 64, illus. p. 154.
2. A landscape with shepherds and shepherdesses among ancient ruins, with the statue of Castor and Pollux and the Pantheon beyond, oil on canvas, 59 by 78 cm., sold London, Sotheby's, 5 December 2012, lot 76.
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