by Hyacinthe Rigaud
This person is associated with: Classicism
French portrait painter.
He won the Prix de Rome in 1682 for his Cain building the town of Henoch. Charles Le Brun advised him to stay in France to specialize in portraiture, which was in higher demand than history painting.
Indeed, Rigaud is especially well known for his portraits of the French kings and high nobility. He was the first French portrait painter to make a very realistic picture of the sitter, whereas portraits were idealized before him. This new style gave him an immense success. Every man of importance had to have his portrait done by Rigaud to prove his rank; all the ambassadors and some foreign princes also came in his workshop.
He was appointed academician in 1700 (January 2), but only sent his reception piece in 1740, 40 years after his admission! He had a successful career, becoming adjunct professor in 1702 (July 24), then professor in 1710 (September 27), adjunct rector in 1733 (between January 10 and May 3O) and finally rector in 1733 (November 28). At this date, four rectors were in charge at the same time and took turns each trimester to rule the presidency of the Academy, so Rigaud shared the position with Largillière, Coustou and Hallé. He nevertheless resigned of all his positions in 1735 (February 5), this ruling system was abandoned at this moment.
Prolific artist, he produced more than a thousand works. It is nevertheless difficult to know in which extent these paintings are from his hand, as his numerous assistants helped him a lot to paint copies, especially for royal commissions; Rigaud sometimes only painted the face and hands.
The museum of Pergignan holds his name and has a good collection of his works.