Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié was born on 16 June 1735 in Paris, the son of François-Bernard Lépicié, one of the leading engravers of his generation and author of biographies of the First Painters of the French king and of an inventory of the paintings in the French Royal collection. Nicolas-Bernard learned in Carle van Loo's studio and studed at the Paris Academy. In 1764, he became a candidate of the Academy (agréé), in 1769 full member as a history painter with a painting of 'Achilles and the Centaur Chiron' (Troyes, Musée des Beaux-Arts). He painted major historical and mythological scenes for the Royal palaces (the Petit Trianon) and for the Royal art administration (e. g. for the Ecole militaire and the Gobelins) and was successful as a painter of altarpieces. From the late 1760s he painted genre scenes that met with great critical success. He also painted portraits, including several studies of his young pupil, Carle Vernet (the son of Joseph Vernet). He was made a professor at the Académie in 1777 and died in Paris on 15 September 1784.
Lépicié was particularly important for his early scenes of medieval history and for his moral genre paintings in the spirit of Jean-Baptiste Greuze.