LÉPICIÉ, Nicolas-Bernard
(b. 1735, Paris, d. 1784, Paris)


Painter, part of a French family of artists. François-Bernard Lépicié was an engraver who became secretary and historiographer of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, in which capacity he compiled a catalogue of the paintings in the French royal collection and an important set of lives of the Premiers Peintres du Roi. His wife, Renée-Elisabeth Lépicié (née Marlie; 1714-73), was also an engraver, signing a number of plates after François Boucher, Jean-Siméon Chardin, Noël Hallé and other artists. Their son Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié (1735-1784) was a painter specializing in large historical and religious canvases, although he is perhaps best known for his charming small-scale genre scenes.

Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié was taught engraving by his father before entering the studio of the painter Carle Van Loo. In 1759 he won second prize in the Prix de Rome competition at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, but he never went to Rome. He was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale in 1764 on presentation of a vast painting of the Landing of William the Conqueror on the English Coast, which is now in the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen. He subsequently painted a series of pictures for the above foundation, including the Baptism of Christ (1765) and Christ and the Little Children (1767; both in situ), as well as a Conversion of Saul (1767; untraced).

In 1769 he was received (reçu) as a full member by the Académie Royale on presentation of Achilles and the Centaur Chiron (Troyes, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie ); he became an assistant professor in 1770 and a professor in 1777. His studio had a fine reputation, and several painters prominent in the Neo-classical generation trained there, including Carle Vernet, Jean-Baptiste Regnault, Jean-Joseph Taillasson and Henri-Pierre Danloux. His early success was doubtless facilitated by his father's reputation and by the friendship of Charles-Nicolas Cochin II, who had succeeded Bernard Lépicié as Secrétaire Perpétuel to the Académie Royale in 1755 and owned at least five of Nicolas-Bernard's works.

Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié painted portraits, domestic genre scenes, and historical subjects. His best works, although not entirely free from the sentimentality of the period, have something of the tranquil beauty associated with Chardin.

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