Hyacinthe Rigaud was the son of a dress tailor but came from a long line of artists. He spent four years in the studio of Paul Pézet, in Montpellier, and also worked with Antoine Ranc. He then spent a further four years in Lyon, before arriving in Paris in 1681, where he entered the Académie Royale and worked in Charles Le Brun’s studio. Rigaud remained in Paris throughout his career, establishing himself as a portrait painter. He was elected an academician as a portraitist in 1687 and as a history painter in 1700. He was made a knight of the Order of St Michael in 1727. He became Louis XIV’s ‘painter par excellence’, painting him in 1694 and 1701. At times he collaborated with other artists, who added decoration or landscape to his work.
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