(Besançon 1745 - Besançon 1819)
View of the ‘Temple of Jupiter Serapis’ at Pozzuoli, after Hubert Robert
235 x 311 mm. (9 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.)
Although the present sheet follows Robert’s drawing fairly closely, there are a handful of significant differences between the two compositions, notably the figures of a man and a woman at the left of centre, which replace the two women found in Robert’s drawing and in other variants of the composition.
Excavated in 1750, the so-called Temple of Jupiter Serapis at Pozzuoli, on the outskirts of Naples, was long thought to have been a temple to the ancient god Serapis, due to the discovery of a statue of the Greco-Egyptian god at the site. It is now known, however, to have been the macellum, or public marketplace, of the town of Pozzuoli. The building was in the form of a square courtyard bordered by an arcade made up of thirty-four columns and decorated with statues. In the centre of the courtyard was a tholos; a circular building standing on a podium, with sixteen columns supporting a domed vault. By the 18th century, however, all that remained at the site was a row of three tall marble columns.