Hubert Robert

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Robert, Hubert (1733–1808). French land-scape-painter and designer of gardens, known as Robert des Ruines because he often used Antique ruins as central elements in his pictures. He sometimes incorporated Egyptian and Egyptianizing motifs in his paintings, and played a minor role in the Egyptian Revival. He worked on the important gardens at Ermenonville (1770s) for René-Louis, Marquis de Girardin (1735–1808), and contributed to the design of one of the most enduring images of the period: the Île des Peupliers (Isle of Poplars) and the tomb of J. -J. Rousseau (1712–78). From 1786 he worked on designs for the remarkable garden of allusions at Méréville for Jean-Joseph, Marquis de Laborde (1724–94), in succession to Bélanger. He was a key figure in the transformation of the landscaped garden into a Picturesque place of allusions where sentimental, mnemonic, and moral associations informed the design.


BSHAF (1968), 127–33;
J. Curl (ed.) (2001);
M&T (1991);
Nolhac (1910);
L'Œil, clxxx (Dec. 1969), 30–41, 83, 96;
Racine (ed.) (2001);
Jane Turner (1996)

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Hubert Robert (übâr´ rôbĕr´), 1733–1808, French painter and landscape architect. A follower of Piranesi and Pannini, Robert was known as a painter of idealized landscapes, fantastic ruins, and vistas of city plazas and parks. His decorations for the Château of Fontainebleau (1787) are now in the Louvre. Robert was one of the first curators of painting at the Louvre and a draftsman for the gardens at Versailles. Imprisoned during the French Revolution, he escaped death when another man of the same name went to the guillotine in his place. He later died in obscurity.

See study by N. L. Dubin (2010).