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(b Russia, ?1717; d London, 23 Apr. 1786). English landscape draughtsman. Cozens was one of the first major British artists to work exclusively as a landscapist and he helped to bring intellectual respectability to his speciality by stressing its poetic and imaginative qualities rather than its topographical function. He was born in Russia, the son of a shipbuilder employed by Peter the Great (there is no truth in the legend that Peter was his real father). Although he was educated in England, he later returned to Russia and did not settle in Britain until he was about 30 (following a period of about two years in Italy, during which he studied in Rome with Joseph Vernet). For much of his career he worked as a fashionable teacher, and he published several treatises.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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