In 1682. he was awarded the Prix de Rome.
He was the most important portrait painter in the reign of King Louis XIV. His instinct for impressive poses and grand presentations precisely suited the tastes of the royal personages, ambassadors, clerics, courtiers, and financiers who sat for him.
Rigaud's paintings captured very exact likenesses and along with the subject's costumes and background details, his paintings are precise records of contemporary fashions. Rigaud's best-known work is his 1701 painting of Louis XIV which today hangs in the Louvre in Paris.