b. 1602 Brussels, Belgium, d. 1674 Paris
At nineteen, Philippe de Champaigne began working with Nicolas Poussin on the decoration of the Luxembourg Palace. Seven years later, after commissions from Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII, and the queen mother Marie de Médicis, Champaigne was appointed royal painter to the queen mother. He received numerous commissions for royal portraits, religious paintings for Parisian churches and for individual devotion, and decorative projects for royal residences. His prominence put him among the founding members of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, where he became a professor in 1653. A brilliant color sense, monumental conception of the figure, and sober use of composition characterized Champaigne's religious works and his memorable psychological portraits. Peter Paul Rubens and Simon Vouet influenced his use of strong colors, but the ascetic Champaigne scorned these artists' decorative qualities. Both his contemporaries and modern scholars have attributed the severe plainness of his portraits to his Jansenist beliefs. His religious convictions also affected his choice of subjects: during the last decade of his career, he chose to paint only his family and friends and religious themes.
French, about 1646