This person is associated with: Baroque, Classicism
French classical painter, founder of the Coypel dynasty.
He trained under Charles Errard, and was his first assistant on several decorations in the Louvre and the Parliament of Brittany. He then caught the eye of Le Brun - the greatest French painter of the time - who pushed for his admission to the French Academy on 31 March 1663; his reception piece was Hercules Resting after his Twelve Works.
Thanks to Le Brun, he was commissioned to execute several important works for the palace of Versailles, including five canvases hung in the Queen's Chamber, a series of works on Apollo and Jupiter, and an ensemble telling the life of Hercules. He never finished this last work due to the hostility of the Superintendent of the Batiments, Hardouin-Mansart, who even dismissed him from his position as Director of the Academy. Coypel's disgrace was probably caused by his conservatism since he had remained faithful to the classical purity taught by Poussin, whereas a style of softer composition had already evolved. By 1700 Charles de La Fosse had succeeded him as Head of the Academy. De la Fosse and Coypel's son, Antoine Coypel and the Boullogne brothers had been instrumental in this shift in painting.
Coypel nevertheless enjoyed a very successful career, being promoted Adjunct Professor on 31 March 1663, Professor on 28 June 1664, Adjunct Rector on 2 July 1689, Rector on 1 July 1690, and Director of the Academy from 13 August 1695 to 7 April 1699 (date of his dismissal). He also became director of the French Academy in Rome between 1673 and 1676. He died on 24 December 1707.
His two sons, Antoine and Noël-Nicolas, studied under their father.