Poussin, Caspar

, whose proper name was Dughet, was born, according to some authors, in France, in 1600; according to others, at Rome, in 1613; nearly the same difference has been found in the dates of his death, which some place in 1663, and others in 1675. Which may be right, it is not easy to ascertain but the two latter dates are adopted by the authors of the Dictionnaire Historique. His sister being married to Nicholas Poussin, and settled at Rome, he travelled to that place, partly to visit her, and partly from a strong love of painting. Sandrart says, that Caspar was employed at first only to prepare the palette, pencils, and colours, for Nicholas; but, by the instructions and example of that great master, was so led on, that he also obtained a high reputation. While he remained at Home, he dropped his own name of Dughet, and assumed that of Poussin, from his brother-in-law, and benefactor. He is acknowledged to have been one of the best painters of landscapes that the world has seen. No painter ever studied nature to better effect, particularly in expressing the effects of land-storms. His scenes are always | beautifully chosen, and his buildings simple and elegant. He was not equally skilled in painting figures, and frequently prevailed on Nicholas to draw them for him. The connoisseurs distinguish three different manners in his paintings the first is dry the second is more simple, yet delightful, and natural, approaching more than any other, to the style of Claude. His third manner is more vague and undefined than these, but pleasing; though less so by far than the second. His style is considered on the whole by Mr. Mason, in his table subjoined to Du Fresnoy, as a mixture between those of Nicolo and Claude Lorraine. Mr. Mason adopts the date of 1675 for his death. 1


Argenville, vol. I. Pilkington.