COYPEL, French family of painters

Their work, over three successive generations, maps the progress of history painting in late 17th-century and early 18th-century France. The family's founder, NoŽl Coypel, was a follower of Poussin, painting in a similar academic, classicizing style. NoŽl's elder son, Antoine Coypel, was the most distinguished artist of the family, who achieved the highest honours: stylistically, he was drawn away from the influence of his father and Charles Le Brun by the attractions of the style of Rubens and the theories of Roger de Piles. The work of NoŽl-Nicolas Coypel, his younger brother and frequent imitator, is distinguished by its decorative quality. Antoine's son, Charles-Antoine Coypel, tended to revert to the classicizing style of the 17th century; his history and other paintings reflect his lifelong interest in the theatre in their strongly dramatic manner.