Figures in a bay of Saint Peter's at Rome

Hubert Robert

Paris, 1733 – Paris, 1808

c. 1763-1765
Oil on wood
48 x 36 cm
P. 550
Museum purchase with the assistance of the national and regional governments under the aegis of FRAM, 1991
© Musée de Valence, photo Philippe Petiot

Hubert Robert - Personnages dans une baie à Saint-Pierre de Rome © Musée de Valence, photo Philippe Petiot

Information

This painting uses a reversal of a red chalk cartoon by Veyrenc, suggesting that it might have been done using its mirror-image. In 1763, Hubert Robert toured Saint Peter’s Basilica and created a veritable “report” drawn from multiple points of view, often unusual and theatrical. Here, set in one of the long galleries enclosing the square, we have an oblique composition in which the reduction of the framing of bays leads the eye toward the façade of the basilica and a triangle of sky. It is an upward composition, propped up on the right by a pilaster, from below by the dark rock, and crossed by a diagonal shaft of light that touches the beige monochromatic stone, broken by the white draperies and touches of red in the clothing.

Hubert Robert - Personnages dans une baie à Saint-Pierre de Rome © Musée de Valence, photo Philippe Petiot