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Andrea Sacchi

Sep - 14 - 2013
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Maratta Portrait of Sacchi

Andrea Sacchi-Portrait by Maratta

Andrea Sacchi(born 1599, Nettuno, Papal States(Italy)-died June 21, 1661, Rome)was an Italian painter of High Baroque Classicism, active in Rome.
“He worked with an uneasy mind; knowing perfectly well the difference between the good and the better, he was never content.”
So reported Andrea Sacchi’s biographer; Sacchi himself said that other famous artists “frighten me and make me lose heart.”
Sacchi was trained under Francesco Albani at Bologna.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 1621, he moved to Rome where he spent the rest of his life. Much of his early career was helped by the regular patronage by Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who commissioned art for the Capuchin church in Rome and the Palazzo Barberini.
His Bolognese training gave him an initial bias toward Classicism and a taste for colour. But the direct influence of Raphael was already added to these qualities in the “Miracle of St. Gregory” (1625–27; Vatican Museum, Rome). This work brought Sacchi to the notice of the Sacchetti family, who employed him, with Pietro da Cortona, in the decoration of their villa at Castel Fusano in 1627–29. Both artists were next employed by Antonio Cardinal Barberini to decorate the Palazzo Barberini in Rome. Sacchi’s ceiling fresco, “Allegory of Divine Wisdom” (1629–33), is a grave, static work, markedly Raphaelesque in conception and containing relatively few figures, in contrast with Cortona’s full Baroque “Triumph of Divine Providence” in an adjoining room.

Saint Andrew

Andrea Sacchi, Saint Andrew, c. 1630

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.
Sacchi, who worked almost always in Rome, left few pictures visible in private galleries. He had a flourishing school: Carlo Maratta was a younger collaborator or pupil. In Maratta’s large studio, Sacchi’s preference for a grand manner style would find pre-eminence among Roman circles for decades to follow. But many others worked under him or his influence including Luigi Garzi, Francesco Lauri, Andrea Camassei and Giacinto Gimignani. Sacchi’s own illegitimate son Giuseppe, died young after high hopes for his future.
Sacchi died at Nettuno in 1661.

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