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Landscape with Ruins
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Hubert Robert
French, 1772
Pen and brown ink, brown and blue washes, over black chalk
22 1/2 x 30 3/4 in.
83.GG.37

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Small figures of peasants and their animals happily prepare their washing, rest, or fish around the large columns of a ruined Roman temple, which serves as the focus and setting of this drawing. A bulky tree opposite the temple balances the composition, reaching up to the sky with its picturesque, crooked branches.

Hubert Robert was the first artist to make ancient ruins the main focus of his landscapes rather than placing them in the background as picturesque accessories. He made many such drawings during his time in Italy and then used them as the basis for the paintings he made later in France. This scene may represent a specific temple that Robert visited in Rome and knew from engravings.