Together with Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, Gaspard Dughet is considered to be one of the leaders of the 17th-century school of landscape painting. He is counted as one of the greatest French painters even though, a Roman by birth, he always lived and worked in Rome and never set foot in France.
Initially a pupil, and then brother-in-law of Poussin, Dughet had a particular inclination for landscape painting ever since he was very young. Sources tell us of his long excursions into the Roman countryside with Poussin and Lorenese, who were both of fundamental importance in his training, but they also describe his unbridled passion for hunting and his love of nature.
In actual fact, Dughet very soon freed himself of his master and was already independent in about 1635, when he received his first major commission for a public work, on the piano nobile of Palazzo Muti-Bussi at Aracoeli in Rome (1635–37). In the early stages of his career, Dughet was particularly sensitive to the charms of landscape painting which were typical of Northern tradition, with a realistic approach to a harsh, untamed nature, perfectly suited to dramatic subjects such as storm scenes. Later on, however, he meditated on the lessons learnt from Claude Lorrain, adapting his warm luminosity while maintaining close links with the approach adopted by Poussin.