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Hyacinthe Rigaud

1659 - 1743

Rigaud was, with Largillierre, the leading French portrait painter of the later 17th and early 18th centuries. He was the principal official painter of Louis XIV, and also worked for his successor, Louis XV. The images he created of these kings established patterns for the representation of monarchs that were influential throughout the courts of Europe in the 18th century.

Rigaud was from Perpignan and was trained at Montpellier by Paul Petzet and Antoine Ranc. By 1681 he had settled in Paris. In 1682 he won the Prix de Rome at the French Academy in Rome, but never visited Italy. The major influences on his state portraits were the works of Van Dyck and Champaigne. He ran a busy studio in Paris, where pupils assisted him with his commissions. These are recorded in his account book, 'Livre de Raison'. His clients included officers of the court, and also the Parisian professional classes, although these mainly turned to Largillierre for their portraits.