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Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) was a French painter and art theorist, the dominant artist in 17th-century France.

Le Brun was born in Paris on February 24, 1619. A pupil of both François Perrier[?] and Simon Vouet[?], he went to Rome in 1642 where he worked under Nicolas Poussin, adapting the latter's theories of art. He returned to Paris in 1646. In 1662 he became "Premier Peintre du roi", and in 1663 director of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, where he laid the basis of academicism and became the virtual dictator of the arts in France. In his posthumously published treatise, Méthode pour apprendre à dessiner les passions (1698) he promoted the expression of the emotions in painting. It had much influence on 18th-century art theory.

He primarily worked for King Louis XIV, for whom he executed large altarpieces and battle pieces[?]. His most important paintings are at Versailles where he decorated the famous Galerie des Glaces (1679-1684) and the Salons de la Guerre and de la Paix (1686). Le Brun was also a fine portraitist and an excellent draughtsman. Many of his drawings are in the Louvre. He died in Paris on February 12, 1690.

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