Philippe de Champaigne was a painter, born in Brussels to a poor Flemish family.
He studied under J. Fouquières and in 1621 travelled to Paris where he was employed along with Nicholas Poussin by N. du Chesne to paint the Luxembourg Palace. Following the death of du Chesne, Champaigne was appointed the first painter to the queen of France, Marie de Medici. He was a founder member and utlimately the rector of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.
He painted a number of religious subjects and portraits for the queen and Cardinal Richelieu. Throughout his career his artistic style was varied and developed from late Mannerism to the Baroque, rather than being limited to the realism that is traditionally associated with Flemish painters. Through the 1640s he became increasingly involved with the Jansenist religious movement and retired to the Port Royal where his work began to take a more simple, realistic and austere style in line with Jansenism. His best known works include his frescoes at Vincennes and in the Tuileries and his portraits of Richelieu and his daughter.
Peledan compared Whistler's Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Artist's Mother to Champaigne's Miracle of the Blessed Thorn in its 'intense severity'.
www.encyclopedia.org; http://www.getty.edu (accessed 2003); The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 2004).