(b ?Nettuno or Rome, c.30 Nov. [St Andrew's Day] 1599 or 1600; d Rome, 21 June 1661).
Italian painter, one of the leading artists of his day in Rome. He was a pupil of Francesco 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 principles of order and moderation, Sacchi engaged in a debate in the Accademia di S. Luca 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 Gran 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 (1631, Pinacoteca, Vatican), in portraits, and not least in his drawings. His most important pupil was Maratta. Sacchi also worked as an architect, designing the Chapel of St Catherine of Siena (1637–9) in the Sacristy of S. Maria sopra Minerva, a work of refined classical purity.