Born in Warsaw, Smuglevicz served his apprenticeship in the city before moving to Rome in 1763. In Rome he studied under the Austrian painter, Anton Maron and became fascinated by archaeological excavations, making copies of antique frescoes. On his return to Warsaw in 1784, Smuglevicz opened a painting school. He settled in Vilnius in 1797, taking up a post as director of the new School of Fine Arts. Smuglevicz lived in Vilnius for the rest of his life, where he continued to produce large altarpieces, murals, landscape drawings and Polish historical scenes.