This person is associated with: Rococo
French portrait painter, a member of a prominent dynasty of artist, notably composed of his uncle Carle, and his father Jean-Baptiste, with whom he trained.
He won the Prix de Rome in 1725 at his first attempt and at only 19 years old. The subject was Child Moses Throwing down Pharaoh's Crown. He however had to wait two years before moving to Italy due to the financial situation of the State. François Boucher (recipient of the 1723 Prize), his uncle Carle (1724 recipient), and his younger brother François travelled with him.
While his uncle stayed longer in Italy, Louis-Michel came back after the usual five years of training, and was almost immediately admitted in the Academy, on 25 April 1733; his reception piece was Apollo and Daphne. He did not wait a long time before being promoted simultaneously adjunct professor and professor on 2 July 1735.
Contrary to his uncle and brothers, Rococo had less influence on Louis-Michel, who remained indebted to the grand manner of Hyacinthe Rigaud, as he represented the portrayed character standing in a rigid architectural background. Besides, after the death of Jean Ranc - the Spanish Court Painter - in 1737, Rigaud advised King Philip V to hire Louis-Michel as the new Court portraitist, since his style better matched royal portaiture. Most of his portraits therefore represent members of the Spanish royal family, including his masterpiece (completed in 1743) which gathers all the family on a single canvas.
Considering his important position, Philip V named him his First Painter, and he was also a founding member of the Royal Academy of San Fernando, created in 1752.
He came back to France in 1753 and regularly exhibited in the Salon until his death, where his friend Diderot frequently praised his talent. He succeeded his uncle Carle as Director of the Ecole Royale des Elèves Protégés in 1765.
C. Rolland, Louis Michel Van Loo (1707-1771): member of a dynasty of painters, unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1994.