"Futures & Ruins - Eighteenth-Century Paris and the Art of Hubert Robert" by . Dubin

Futures & Ruins - Eighteenth-Century Paris and the Art of Hubert Robert . Dubin

Getty Publications - (Yale)
Paperback / softback
Publication date:
20 Dec 2012
Getty Publications
210 pages: 266 x 190 x 16mm

This is as the favoured artist of an enterprising Parisian elite, Robert is a prophetic case study of the intersection between aesthetics and modernity's dawning business culture. In this provocative study, Hubert Robert's paintings of urban ruins are interpreted as manifestations of a new consciousness of time, one shaped by the uncertainty of an economy characterized by the anxiety-inducing expansion of credit, frenzied speculation on the stock market, and foolhardy ventures in real estate. At the centre of this lively narrative lie Robert's depictions of the ruins of Paris - macabre and spectacular paintings of desolation - on the eve of the French Revolution. Drawing on a vast range of materials, Futures & Ruins interprets Robert's artworks as harbingers of a modern appetite for self-destruction: the paintings are examined as expressions of the pleasures and perils of a risk economy.

Nina L. Dubin is assistant professor of art history at the Uni of Illinois, Chicago. Hubert Robert (1733-1808) was a French landscape painter who pioneered scenes of ruined buildings, earning him the moniker Robert des Ruines. Many of his paintings are accurate images of real buildings, but he also produced invented scenes including pictures of contemporary buildings as they might look after falling into decay.