Until he was almost forty, Michel Anguier's career was intertwined with that of his older brother, François. After some training in Normandy, the fifteen-year-old Michel followed François to Paris, where they worked in a sculptor's workshop. Thirteen years later, they went to Rome. François left after two years, but Michel stayed eight more, studying ancient sculpture and authors and absorbing a classicism that remained with him for life. He studied with Alessandro Algardi, whose moderate, classicizingBaroque style served the Anguiers better in France than Gianlorenzo Bernini's extreme Italian Baroque.
The brothers revealed their new Roman influence in the Montmorency tomb in Moulins, where they worked together from 1649 to 1652. After that point their careers diverged. Michel became a favorite of the queen mother, Anne of Austria, whose apartments in the Louvre he decorated. He was the major provider of outdoor sculpture at Nicolas Fouquet's château and park of Vaux-le-Vicomte, south of Paris; spent five years working on a Nativity sculpture for the Parisian church of Val-de-Grâce; and created severely classical reliefs for the triumphal arch of the Porte Saint-Denis. Teaching at the Académie Royale dominated Michel's life in the 1670s, and his lectures there were renowned.