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Washerwomen in the Ruins of the Colosseum

Hubert Robert

European Art

In this painting, Hubert Robert combined real and imagined architecture: the recognizable pierced walls of Rome’s Colosseum looming over the coffered arches of another decaying structure. A group of washerwomen and other figures gather around a fire, providing a picturesque contrast between ordinary lives of the present day and the lost grandeur of antiquity.

In 1754 Robert had traveled to Italy to further his artistic training and soon found himself captivated by the crumbling ruins of ancient monuments. During his eleven-year stay in Italy, Robert assembled a vast “catalogue” of drawings of such sites, which he would later include in historically evocative fantasy scenes that earned him both patronage and acclaim.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES ca. 1760s
    DIMENSIONS 17 3/4 × 22 3/4 in. (45.1 × 57.8 cm) frame: 23 1/2 × 28 1/2 × 3 1/4 in. (59.7 × 72.4 × 8.3 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Hubert Robert (French, 1733–1808). Washerwomen in the Ruins of the Colosseum, ca. 1760s. Oil on canvas, 17 3/4 × 22 3/4 in. (45.1 × 57.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 1994.70 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1994.70_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1994.70_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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