The landscape, architecture and genre painter Hubert Robert was born in Paris on May 22, 1733. Between 1745 and 1751 he studied classic studies at the Colegio de Navarra. First he intended to become a cleric, but in 1751 he entered the studio of the sculptor Michel-Angel Slodtz (1705–64). He taught Hubert Robert about perspective and drawings, upon which he turned to painting.
In 1754 through the protection of the Marquis Abel-François Poisson de Marigny (1727–81) and the Duke Étienne-François de Choiseul (1719–85), he came to Rome, where he was accepted into the French academy. Robert modeled himself on Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) and particularly on the veduta painter Giovanni Paolo Pannini (1691–1765). In 1760, Jean-Claude Richard de Saint-Non (1727-91) took him along to Naples in order to visit the ruins of Pompeii.
Hubert Robert returned to Paris in 1765. Here he became a member of the Académie Royale de peinture et de sculpture and two years later exhibited the "Harbor of Ripetta" in Rome. He created effectively decorative and, in terms of painting, highly tasteful landscapes and pictures of ruins as well as genre and topical pictures in the style of Saint-Aubin (1724–80). He also created view of Paris and depictions of remarkable events such as the demolition of the houses on the Pont de Neuilly, Pont Notre-Dame and Pont au Change and the fires at the Opera in 1777 and 1782. He surpassed the landscape painters and depictors of ruins of the time by means of the wealth of his imaginative ideas.
Beginning in 1767, he participated regularly in exhibits in the Salon. When changes were undertaken in 1775 in the park at Versailles, Hubert Robert made suggestions in sketches and pictures that were in the style of English landscape architecture. In addition he created cycles of paintings for the interiors of many prestigious hotels. In 1784, the Comte d’Angéviller (1730–1810) named him a guard of the painting gallery that was to be installed in the Louvre. Shortly thereafter, the artist stayed in Provence, where he composed antique ruin paintings for the Castle Fontainebleau. When Hubert Robert was put in jail during the Revolution, he continued to work tirelessly. After his release in 1794, he painted the wedding celebration of Rousseau. In the year after that, the artist became a member of the new museum administration. In this position, he suggested the installation of skylights. In addition, he painted the gallery in the condition in which he imagined it and in the condition of a ruin in rubble with famous antiques.
Hubert Robert died in Paris on April 15, 1808.