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Painting and Graphic Art

Landscape with ruins

Key data

Hubert Robert, Paris, ca. 1770

Oil on canvas, 137 x 156 cm

Inv. 1950.467.a.


The celebrated landscape painter Hubert Robert (1733-1808) is represented in the Museum by two Roman paintings with ruins and pastoral staffage. They exemplify the aspiration of wealthy Basle families of the Ancien régime to participate in the contemporary style of Paris, which dictated fashions at that time. The works by this French painter trained by Piranesi reflect a reawakened interest in the buildings of Roman antiquity - one should also think of the Roman town of Augst near Basle in this connection. The contrasts cultivated in Robert's ruin paintings between dilapidated architecture and natural life also contain the idea of transience. The two paintings were ordered from the artist by the silk ribbon manufacturer Achilles Weiss Ochs for his town residence in Basle, the Württembergerhof. His agent was the Basle engraver and art dealer Christian von Mechel, who was in contact with artists such as Fragonard, Van Loo and Boucher and helped to propagate the 'gout antique' in his own works.

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Basel Historical Museum
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