(b. 1628, Paris, d. 1707, Paris)


French painter. He trained with an unknown painter in Orléans and in the studio of Noël Quillerier (1594-1669) in Paris. From the age of 18 Coypel collaborated with Charles Errard le fils, who was considered the most important designer of decorative schemes in Paris, until Errard was appointed director of the Académie de France in Rome in 1666. Collaboration with him gave Coypel the opportunity to take part in large projects.

His first commission, a contribution to the stage scenery for Luigi Rossi's opera Orfeo, has not survived, but his second work, carried out under Errard's direction, gives an idea of the nature of his style. This is the ceiling painting in the Grande Chambre of the Palais du Parlement in Rennes (now the Palais de Justice), which was executed in 1663. As was his usual practice, Errard designed the general structure and individual decorative forms, entrusting Coypel with the task of painting. The detailed iconography of the nine painted compartments of the ceiling, which vary in dimension, is not clear in every case: most of the problematic figures are probably personifications of political virtues, which Coypel, in his distinctive way, represented without foreshortening or change in proportion. The figures, extremely plastic in conception and classicising in the manner of Poussin, appear parallel to the picture plane, with no concession to the spectator's viewpoint. Two small panels contemporary with the ceiling in Rennes, a Visitation and an Adoration of the Shepherds (both Paris, Hôpital Laennec, Chapel), likewise demonstrate why Coypel was justly called 'Coypel le Poussin' by connoisseurs of his time. Both representations have a friezelike composition; the classically modelled figures have moderate, albeit differentiated expressions.

An earlier painting of St James the Greater Led to Execution (1661; Paris, Louvre), commissioned from Coypel for Notre-Dame de Paris by the Goldsmiths' Corporation, shows Poussin's influence in the overall composition and background architecture, as well as in the types of the individual figures.

In 1672 he was appointed director of the French Academy at Rome. After four years he returned to France; and not long after he became director of the Academy of Painting.

His sons Antoine and Noël-Nicolas were also painters.