Among the strolling parties of monks and friars, cardinals and prelates, Roman princesses and English peers, Spanish grandees and French cavaliers which crowded the Pincio, towards the latter end of the seventeenth century, there appeared two groups, which may have recalled those of the Portico or the Academy, and which never failed to interest and fix the attention of the beholders. The leader of one of these singular parties was the venerable Niccolo Poussin! The air of antiquity which breathed over all his works seemed to have infected even his person and his features; and his cold, sedate, and passionless countenance, his measured pace and sober deportment, spoke that phlegmatic temperament and regulated feeling, which had led him to study monuments rather than men, and to declare that the result of all his experience was "to teach him to live well with all persons." Soberly clad, and sagely accompanied by some learned antiquary or pious churchman, and by a few of his deferential disciples, he gave out his trite axioms in measured phrase and emphatic accent, lectured rather than conversed, and appeared like one of the peripatetic teachers of the last days of Athenian pedantry and pretension.

In striking contrast to these academic figures, which looked like their own "grandsires cut in alabaster," appeared, unremittingly, on the Pincio, after sun-set, a group of a different stamp and character, led on by one who, in his flashing eye, mobile brow, and rapid movement, all fire, feeling, and perception—was the very personification of genius itself. This group consisted of Salvator Rosa, gallantly if not splendidly habited, and a motley gathering of the learned and witty, the gay and the grave, who surrounded him. He was constantly accompanied in these walks on the Pincio by the most eminent virtuosi, poets, musicians, and cavaliers in Rome; all anxious to draw him out on a variety of subjects, when air, exercise, the desire of pleasing, and the consciousness of success, had wound him up to his highest pitch of excitement; while many who could not appreciate, and some who did not approve, were still anxious to be seen in his train, merely that they might have to boast "nos quoque."

From the Pincio, Salvator Rosa was generally accompanied home by the most distinguished persons, both for talent and rank; and while the frugal Poussin was lighting out some reverend prelate or antiquarian with one sorry taper, Salvator, the prodigal Salvator, was passing the evening in his elegant gallery, in the midst of princes, nobles, and men of wit and science, where he made new claims on their admiration, both as an artist and as an improvisatore; for till within a few years of his death he continued to recite his own poetry, and sing his own compositions to the harpsichord or lute.