Philippe de Champaigne was born under a low-income family, in 1602, in Brussels. He started studying art quite young. The artist was Jacques Fouquières' pupil. At age 19, he moves to Paris, where he began working with Nicolas Poussin, under Nicolas Duchesne’s direction, whose daughter would later become his wife, to decorate the Palais du Luxembourg. It is said that Champaigne’s fast-rising recognition and praise made Duchesne feel angry and overshadowed by Champaigne since he was becoming more popular than him, that tensions made Philippe return to his hometown, Brussels.
Champaigne returned to Paris only after he learned of Duchesne’s passing, marrying his daughter. He began to work for Marie de Medicis, or The Queen Mother, she had him help decorate the Luxembourg Palace. He was awarded the place of first of the Queen’s painters. Also, many of the painting inside the Notre Dame Cathedral is his, as well the Carmelite Church of Faubourg Saint-Jacques, one of the Queen’s favorite churches. This church was destroyed in the French Revolution. Although several paintings survived and are now in museums, such as Assumption of the Virgin, located at the Louvre.
Philippe de Champaigne also worked for Cardinal Richelieu, who hired him to decorate the Palais Cardinal and who he painted eleven times, he was the only painter allowed the depict the Cardinal with his traditional robes. Among other buildings, a remarkable one is the dome of Sorbonne. In 1648 he Champaigne was one of the founders of the Acadèmie de Peinture et de Sculpture, which became one of the most essential and respected schools in France.
The painting Ex Voto of 1662, now in the Louvre, was made after her paralyzed daughter was miraculously cured, the image depicts his daughter along with Agnès Arnauld, the Mother-Superior of Port-Royal Abby.
Champaigne was a very prolific artist throughout his life, heavily influenced by Rubens; his oeuvre included mostly had a religious theme or portraits. He was a very well regarded artist inside the court as well, portraying the entire French court and high nobility. In depicting his subjects, the artist refused to represent ephemeral expressions. Instead, he chose to portray their psychological essence.
Philippe de Champaigne died in Paris on August 12, 1674.