b. 1599 Rome, d. 1661 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."
The most vocal leader of Baroque classicism in the 1630s, Sacchi argued against the exuberant Baroque manner of Pietro da Cortona and Gianlorenzo Bernini. He debated with Cortona in the Academy of Saint Luke, maintaining that history paintings should have few figures, because simplicity and unity were essential to classicism. Cortona, in contrast, believed in compositions with a main theme and many episodes, implying greater complexity and numerous figures.
Sacchi's painting style paralleled that of his friend, sculptor Alessandro Algardi. Like another friend, Nicolas Poussin, Sacchi increasingly refrained from sensory appeal. He repeatedly demonstrated his psychological penetration and concentration on essentials. By century's end, the cool, serene approach of his classicism triumphed, spread extensively by his pupil Carlo Maratti.
Italian, about 1628