Painter, history painter (male), portrait painter, genre painter (male) and draughtsman
The artistic career of Nicolas Bernard Lépicié was first charted by his father, François Bernard, permanent secretary of the Paris Academy and a noted engraver. His name is associated above all with that of Chardin, whose paintings he reproduced. N. B. Lépicié's actual teacher was Carle Vanloo, who trained him to be a history painter. Admitted into the Academy in 1764, he was accepted in 1769 and named professor in 1777. He began to exhibit regularly in the Salon in 1765, but without gaining Diderot's admiration. His tenuous health and the historical circumstances mitigated against his work and its influence. After having interpreted historical and religious subjects with major effort and creative power, he turned - mainly beginning in the 1770s - to genre painting. Chardin and Greuze, for all their differences, were his models. He attained his finest achievements in depictions of children and contemplative scenes in which - as in the art of Chardin - the tradition of the Le Nain brothers lived on. Gaston-Dreyfus compiled a first overview of his work, one that now requires review. It documents in addition to the painter Lépicié a zealous draughtsman, who preferred to work in crayon. He produced overall designs for his paintings, but it is above all studies of single figures that were admired and collected as independent works.