An Italian painter, one of the leading artists of his
day in Rome. He was a pupil of Albani, but he was inspired chiefly by
Raphael, and with the sculptors Algardi and Duquesnoy he became the chief
exponent of the style sometimes called ‘High Baroque Classicism.’
In defence of the classical princples of order and moderation, Sacchi
engaged in a controversy in the Academy of St Luke with Pietro da Cortona
on the question of whether history paintings should have few figures (as
Sacchi maintained) or many (Cortona). Sacchi's ideas were more immediately
influential, but his ponderous ceiling fresco of Divine Wisdom (1629–33)
in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome is completely outshone by Cortona's
exhilarating ceiling of the Grand Salone in the same building.
Sacchi, indeed, was at his best on a much smaller scale
— in altarpieces such as the grave, introspective Vision of St Romuald
(Vatican, c. 1631) and in portraits. His most important pupil was Maratti.
Sacchi also worked as an architect, designing the Chapel of St Catherine
of Siena (1637–39) in the Sacristy of Sta Maria sopra Minerva, a work
of refined classical purity. He was a fine draughtsman.