Margaret Morgan Grasselli and Yuriko Jackall with contributions from Guillaume Faroult and Catherine Voiriot
This is a wonderful celebration of this multi-faceted artist and draftsman, Hubert Robert (1733-1808), who could also turn his hand to being an interior decorator and garden architect, including designs for the Queen’s Dairy at Rambouillet for Marie Antoinette. We are fortunate that while the book has been published to coincide with the exhibition in Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art which ends at the beginning of October it will have a very long and useful life as a stand-alone reference work thanks to the scholarship and up-to-date research that the authors and contributors bring to it.
His time in Rome, where he met and became friends with Fragonard, Panini and Piranesi, led to his penchant for depicting ruins often peopled with figures and for which he became known as ‘Robert des ruines’. He received the support of wealthy patrons and in 1784 was appointed ‘Keeper of the Museum’ (the future Louvre Museum). He was imprisoned for a while after the French Revolution but on his release continued with a series of paintings depicting the Louvre’s Grande Galerie.
I have long been interested in 18th century French art and have enjoyed seeing works by artist such as Boucher, Greuze, Fragonard, Vigée- Le Brun and so on, but my favourite has always been Robert. To me he captures the spirit of the time perfectly and while his works are out of my reach I now have the great pleasure of this book to enjoy.