Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard was a Danish neoclassical and royal history painter, sculptor, architect, and professor of painting, mythology, and anatomy at the New Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, as the son of Anne Margrethe (née Bastholm) and Søren Abildgaard, a noted antiquarian draughtsman.
Abildgaard was trained by a painting master before he joined the Royal Danish Academy of Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi) in Copenhagen, where he studied under the guidance of Johan Edvard Mandelberg and Johannes Wiedewelt. He won a series of medallions at the Academy for his brilliance from 1764 to 1767. The Large Gold Medallion from the Academy won in 1767 included a travel stipend, which he waited five years to receive. He assisted Professor Johan Mandelberg of the Academy as an apprentice around 1769 and for painting decorations for the royal palace at Fredensborg. These paintings are classical, influenced by French classical artists such as Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin.