Hubert Robert - Encyclopedia

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HUBERT ROBERT (1753-1808), French artist, born at Paris in 1753, deserves to be remembered not so much for his skill as a painter as for the liveliness and point with which he treated the subjects he painted. The contrast between the ruins of ancient Rome and the life of his time excited his keenest interest; and, although he had started for Italy on his own responsibility, the credit he there acquired procured him the protection of the minister Marigny and an official allowance. His incessant activity as an artist, his daring character, his many adventures, attracted general sympathy and admiration. In the fourth canto of his L'Imagination Delille celebrated Robert's miraculous escape when lost in the catacombs; later in life, when imprisoned during the Terror and marked for the guillotine, by a fatal accident another died in his place and Robert lived. The quantity of his work is immense; the Louvre alone contains nine paintings by his hand and specimens are frequently to be met with in provincial museums and private collections. Robert's work has more or less of that scenic character which justified his selection by Voltaire to paint the. decorations of his theatre at Ferney. Robert died of apoplexy on the 15th of April 1808. His work was much engraved by the abbe Le Non, with whom he had visited Naples in the company of Fragonard during his early days; in Italy his work has also been frequently reproduced by Chatelain, Lienard, Le Veau, and others.

See C. Blanc, Hist. des peintres; Villot, Notice des tableaux du Louvre; Julius Meyer, Gesch. mod. fr. Malerei.

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