One of the major French artists of the seventeenth century, Bourdon was a gifted and eclectic artist, known primarily as a history painter. He visited Italy from 1634-37, and he was influenced by the work of Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665). In Rome he was associated with the Dutch followers of the Flemish artist Pieter van Laer (1599-1642?), known as the ‘Bamboccianti’, who specialised in peasant genre scenes. In 1648 Bourdon was one of the twelve founding members of the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. From 1652 to 1654 he was court painter to Queen Christina of Sweden in Stockholm. Bourdon spent much of his working career outside France, and was famous for his versatility as a painter. He delivered annual lectures at the Académie Royale 1667-70 and died in Paris on 8 May 1671.