Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Antoine Coypel

Susannah accused of adultery (Susana acusada de adulterio)
oil on canvas
147 x 215 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Antoine Coypel (1661-1722), born in Paris, French painter who was an important influence in encouraging the Baroque style in French art. He always had grand ambition.

He was an artistic prodigy. At the age of 11 he went to Rome with his father, Noel Coypel, who was appointed director of the French Academy there. He studied under his father, but as a young adult, his paintings and drawings more often reflected the influence of Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, emphasizing the interaction of colors to create the illusion of physical space. After three years in Rome, he spent one year in northern Italy studying Correggio and the Bolognese and Venetian schools.

In 1676 he returned to Paris, where in 1681 he was received as a member of the French Royal Academy. His style evolved in an eclectic fashion. His admiration of Rubens emerged in his Democritus (1692), and soon afterward the influence of Poussin was felt. This combination of influence is seen in his most noted works - a series of large biblical compositions. He became director of the Academy in 1714 and was appointed first painter to the king in the following year.

In 1702 the Duke of Orleans commissioned him to decorate the big gallery of the Palais Royal with illustrations from the story of Aeneas; the ceiling is an outstanding example of the Baroque style in French art. His ceiling for the chapel of Versailles in 1708 is even bolder; in it he follows a Roman Baroque model. He is also noted for several engravings.