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Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Boats

Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Boats

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 Greek, Roman, and Egyptian objects in the same space. 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. 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 Boats
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 125 (sold to Ryan) listed as "The Property of a Lady of Title"

  • Haggerty Museum of Art. "The Cult of Ruins: Visions of Antiquity in the Eighteenth Century." Milwaukee: Haggerty Museum of Art, 1999

  • Cult of Ruins, The: Visions of Antiquity in the Eighteenth Century: Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, 3/26/1999-5/2/1999

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