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(bapt. Paris, 24 Feb. 1619; d Paris, 12 Feb. 1690). French painter, designer, and art theorist, the dominant artist of Louis XIV's reign. He trained under Vouet and quickly made a name for himself, winning a commission from Cardinal Richelieu when he was barely out of his teens; the only surviving picture from this commission (for the Palais Cardinal in Paris) is Hercules and the Horses of Diomedes (c.1640, Castle Mus., Nottingham). In 1642 Le Brun went to Rome in company with Poussin, who was returning from his visit to Paris, and remained there until 1646. After his return to Paris he was soon busy with varied commissions and during the 1650s he established himself as the leading decorative painter in France. In 1662 he was raised to the nobility and named first painter to the king, and in 1663 he was made director of the Gobelins factory and of the Académie Royale.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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