The Holy Family
oil on panel
36 x 27 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
Nicolas Vleughels (1668-1737), born in Paris, is a French painter of Flemish origin. He was a painter, draughtsman, pastellist of portraits, genre scenes, religious and mythological compositions and nudes in the Baroque and Neoclassical style.
He trained with his father, a Flemish painter who had moved to Paris in 1642. In 1694 he came second in the Prix de Rome competition, despite repeated attempts, he failed to win the first prize. He became a close friend of Watteau and was, like him, greatly influenced by Flemish painting, notably that of Rubens. In 1704 he travelled to Italy. From his base in Rome he made trips to Venice and Modena, and was much influenced by the work of the Venetian colourists, particularly Veronese, whose works he copied. In 1716, back in Paris, he was approved by the Academie Royale. The influence of Veronese can be seen in the preparatory studies in oil and pastel for his paintings of this period. From 1724 until his death in Rome he was director of the French Academy in Rome.