Capriccio with the Pyramid of Maupertuis (detail), 1798, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Jordan and Thomas Saunders III Collection, L2020.6.30.; The Finding of the Laocoon (detail), 1773, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, 62.31.

Capriccio with the Pyramid of Maupertuis (detail), 1798, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Jordan and Thomas Saunders III Collection, L2020.6.30.; The Finding of the Laocoon (detail), 1773, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, 62.31.

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Cost: $8 (VMFA members $5)

Curator’s Talk | Reviving and Reimagining the Antique in the Age of Enlightenment: Two Paintings by Hubert Robert

Thu, Aug 4, 6:30–7:30 pm

Leslie Cheek Theater

The current presentation of an extraordinary painting by French artist Hubert Robert (1733-1808) from the Saunders Collection alongside another work by the artist from VMFA’s collection provides a splendid opportunity to analyze the 18th-century understanding of Mediterranean Antiquity as the wellspring of European culture. Painted twenty-five years apart, these two works respectively capture the tendency of Robert’s contemporaries to look to the ancient Greco-Roman past for inspiration and the artist’s later nostalgic depiction of ancient monumental architecture as a testimony to the resilience of culture against the ravages of history.

Join Dr. Sylvain Cordier for an in-depth discussion of this spectacular pair of works by the precursor of the neoclassical style in France in the Age of Enlightenment.


Capriccio with the Pyramid of Maupertuis, 1798, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Jordan and Thomas Saunders III Collection, L2020.6.30.
The Finding of the Laocoon, 1773, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, 62.31.

Livestream Option: Can’t make it in-person? Livestream the event from the comfort of home. Simply tune in here at the scheduled event time. Free; no registration required.


IMAGES Capriccio with the Pyramid of Maupertuis, 1798, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Jordan and Thomas Saunders III Collection, L2020.6.30.; The Finding of the Laocoon, 1773, Hubert Robert (French 1733-1808), oil on canvas. Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, 62.31.