1615 — Rome — 1675

Classical Landscape with Lovers and a Spy

oil on linen. 141/4 x 181/4" (360 x 465 mm).
in an antique frame inscribed: Gasparo Pussino Zecchini, otto l'uno.

Dughet, born in Rome of a French father who was a pastry chef, entered Poussin's studio for a few years, after Poussin had married his sister. It was Poussin who suggested the young artist focus on landscape painting. Indeed, the influence of the teacher was lifelong and played out as well in reverse once Dughet became one of the most celebrated and accomplished landscape decorators, in fresco, of his time.

The artist's career is traditionally divided into three periods.1 During the second, or middle years (around 1635-1660), and after around 1637, the artist was influenced by the Bolognese landscape painters. See, for instance, the landscape at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, with classical buildings in the background and three figures in the foreground.2 It is around this time that the present painting was likely executed, with its Carracesque figures and it's "calmer rhythm," though still maintaining an asymmetrical composition, derived from the landscapes of the northern artists that worked in Rome at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. Other comparable paintings of this type and period are in the National Gallery in London as well as at least one other in the Fitzwilliam.

Though Dughet drew from nature, it is thought that his paintings were planned and executed in the studio or directly on the walls of grand palazzi. His clients were papal and aristocratic and his reputation was secure by the late 1640's. Because of his success, he had followers and a sizeable studio. Most likely, this was executed by one of its members, by his design and under his direction That the frame is inscribed "eight of one"3 seems to indicate that this is one in a series of eight compositions or paintings, most likely for a commissioned decorative project. Also inscribed is a nick-name of the artist: Zecchini or Sequins, alluding to the well-known light effects of Dughet's landscapes.


Grove Dictionary of Art, pp. 375 - 378.


Google Dughet and find Fitzwilliam painting.


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