One of the most distinguished landscape painters working in Rome in the seventeenth century, Dughet was apprenticed, between 1631 and 1635, to Nicolas Poussin, who had married his sister, Anne-Marie, and who encouraged him to paint views of the Roman Campagna, often adorned with classical ruins and including small-scale figures in classical costume. After he left Poussin's studio, his work shows a less decorative, freer style, such as in the Storm landscape (Fondazione Longhi, Florence), an early example of the then-new genre with which he was closely associated. A frieze of fourteen landscape frescoes in the Palazzo Muti-Bussi, Rome, draw on the influence of the landscapes of Paul Bril and Agostino Tassi and, in the treatment of light, reveal knowledge of the work of Claude Lorrain. Following this, (see M.-N. Boisclair, in The Dictionary of Art, London, 1996, pp. 375-8), Dughet seems to have moved towards the more classical tradition of Bolognese landscapes, and in particular those of Domenichino. It was with his series of sixteen frescoes of scenes from the Lives of the Prophets Elijah and Elisha, commissioned by the Prior Giovanni Antoni Filippini, for the Carmelite Church of San Martino ai Monti, Rome, that Dughet really established his reputation. After this commissions followed from Pope Innocent X for landscape frescoes for the Palazzo Pamphilj in the Piazza Navona, and also for seven large canvasses for his family's other home, the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
Don Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna became Dughet's most important patron in the 1660s, probably commissioning the vast panoramic landscapes of The Sacrifice of Abraham and the Storm with Elijah and the Angel (both National Gallery, London), the latter being his most celebrated storm picture.
As well as being popular with contemporary patrons, Dughet's work became enthusiastically collected in the following century, especially by Grand Tourists from Britain, where, after Rome, the largest number of his works are still to be found. He was also to have a significant influence on the work of English artists such as John Wootton, Richard Wilson, Gainsborough and Constable.