Italian Capriccio with River Haven

Hubert Robert

Paris, 1733 – 1808

Oil on canvas, 100 x 138cm

Inv. 417

The Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara

Robert arrived in Rome at the age of twenty-one and toured Italy for a decade. The Mediterranean landscapes, its quality of light, as well as the majestic architecture and ruins from antiquity marked his style for ever. Influenced by the art of his friend Jean-Honoré Fragonard—supreme master of French Rococo—he developed a landscape genre where wonderful landscapes are populated with fantasy buildings and famous monuments plucked from their original context. This is also the case for this pair of canvases (inv. 417, 418) that date to the artist’s stay in Rome. In this painting, tiny figures dressed in fashionable clothes rest along the shaded riverside, dominated by lush trees painted with a masterful of atmospheric and lighting effects to rival the best artists of the Modern French tradition, from Nicolas Poussin to Claude Lorrain. The paintings were purchased from the Sacrati Strozzi Collection in 1992.