Hermit in the Colosseum
Hubert Robert ( French, 1733 - 1808 )
An exquisite, small picture based on the artist’s many years spent studying and working in Italy, Hubert Robert’s “Hermit in the Colosseum” shows the imaginary interior of the Roman Colosseum in ruinous state. From the late eighteenth century until the 1930s, the Colosseum was inhabited by all sorts of people, including hermit monks. Robert depicted a hermit praying at an old makeshift altar, with pretty girls stealing flowers behind him. The hermit is so busy, absorbed in his prayers, that he does not observe the theft. Robert offers up a humorous genre anecdote—superbly painted, lighthearted and not too serious. Adapted from Philip Conisbee, "Michael L. Rosenberg's Eighteenth Century," in “French Art of the Eighteenth Century: The Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture Series at the Dallas Museum of Art,” ed. Heather MacDonald (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art and the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 2016), 20.