Self Portrait in a Painted Frame
by Charles-Antoine Coypel IV
This person is associated with: Rococo
French rococo painter, grandson of Noël Coypel I, nephew of Noël-Nicolas Coypel III, and son of Antoine Coypel II, with whom he trained.
His glorious ascendency helped him to be appointed to the Academy at only 18 (on 31 August 1715), without having competed for the Prix de Rome as was customary at the time; his reception piece was Jason and Medea.
Contrary to other members of his family, whose output was almost exclusively devoted to classical and history painting, Charles-Antoine produced many gallant and humorous subjects, including a famous series of 28 pieces (with several replicas) based on the story of Don Quixote, designed for tapestries for the Manufactory of the Gobelins. He also had a special interest in pastels after travels with his then-friend Rosalba Carreira in France in 1720 and painted many subsequent portraits in this medium.
Apart from his primary activity, Charles-Antoine Coypel was also a prolific playwriter, but he abandoned theatre in 1732 after having been criticized; he made an allegoric painting about his choice: Painting Rejecting Thalia (the muse of comedy).
Like his father and grandfather before him, he had the best career possible, being promoted adjunct professor on 26 October 1720, professor on 10 January 1730, adjunct rector and rector the same day on 26 March 1746, and finally director of the French Academy from 23 June 1747 until his death on 14 June 1752. He also inherited from his father the positions of Painter of the Duke of Orleans in 1722 and Director of the Drawings and Paintings to the king in 1722. He became Premier Peintre du Roi in 1747.
He had no children, having remained single all his life, and was therefore last in line of the illustrious Coypel family (counting three directors of the Academy).
- E. Bell, Charles-Antoine Coypel: Painting and Performance in Eighteenth-Century France.
- Thierry Lefrançois, Charles Coypel: Peintre du Roi, Paris, 1994.