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Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Pyramid

Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Pyramid

On View

Elvehjem : Gallery : 3

Hubert Robert

Like many French artists of his time, Hubert Robert went to Italy to study painting. He was in Rome from 1754 until 1765, when he probably painted the Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Boat and its companion piece Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Pyramid. The Italian word capriccio, a musical term meaning whimsical or improvisational, here refers to the playful assemblage of architecture. He dramatized his majestic ruins by placing small rustic figures in the scene and by using stage-set lighting with strong shadows in the foreground. In Rome, Robert became a friend of Italian artists Piranesi and Pannini and introduced their type of romantic ruin-painting to France, although in a more restrained and realistic manner.
Hubert Robert
(French, 1733 - 1808)
Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Pyramid
ca. 1760
Oil on canvas
38 x 52 in. Overall
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Firman H. Hass
Accession No.


Agnew Gallery, London; Ryan; Christie''s, London, Important Pictures by Old Masters, July 2, 1965, lot 124 (sold to Ryan) listed as "The Property of a Lady of Title"

  • Rogers, Millard F., Jr. "Paintings at the Elvehjem Art Center, University of Wisconsin." The Magazine Antiques. Vol. CVIII, No. 6, December (1975): 1146-1155. pp. 1151-1154, pl. 4
  • SchoolsMusuemsART (SMART) Project. Madison, Wi: Madison Metropolitan School District, 2002.
  • Committee on Institutional Cooperation. "Paintings from Midwestern University Collections: Seventeenth-Twentieth Centuries." Evanston, Ill.: Committee on Institutional Cooperation, 1973. no. 56-57
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Handbook of the Collection." Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison, 1990. no. 65

  • Paintings from Midwestern University Collections: 17th-20th Centuries: Committee on Institutional Cooperation and Member Universities, 10/3/1973-4/27/1975

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