The Mouth of a Cave

Hubert Robert French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 631

Based on a bet with Queen Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI’s brother, the comte d’Artois, had a pleasure pavilion built on the outskirts of Paris in a mere sixty-four days through the labor of more than eight hundred craftsmen. Robert’s six paintings of Italian landscapes were installed in an elaborate bathing room, prompting their overarching theme of water. Having spent eleven years in Italy, where he befriended Jean Honoré Fragonard and other French artists abroad, Robert knew ancient architecture and sculpture deeply. In this series, however, instead of antiquarian exactitude, he combined sources freely.

The Mouth of a Cave, Hubert Robert (French, Paris 1733–1808 Paris), Oil on canvas

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