© Soprintendenza Speciale PSAE Roma

Name of Object:

Portrait of Marcello Sacchetti


Rome, Italy

Holding Museum:

Borghese Gallery



Type of object:



Pietro da Cortona (1596, Cortona (Arezzo)-1669, Rome)

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

oil on canvas


h: 133 cm; w: 98 cm


Pietro Berrettini, also known as Cortona, was one of the key figures in Roman Baroque art, both as a painter and an architect.
The subject of this portrait, Marcello Sacchetti, was made depositary general and secret treasurer of the Apostolic Chamber in 1623 thanks to his relationship with Maffeo Barberini, who had just become Pope Urban VIII. The artist painted this portrait after 1623 but before 1629, the year that Sacchetti died. A date around 1626 is generally accepted.
The relationship between painter and patron was important, not just because Berrettini was given some major commissions by the Sacchetti family between 1627 and 1629, but for its exemplary nature.
Well integrated in Roman social and cultural circles, the nobleman Sacchetti introduced Berrettini to the most important collectors, allowing him to obtain new and interesting commissions and to consolidate his relationship with the powerful Barberinis.
Sacchetti, a banker and businessman, is painted by the artist in a pose that successfully transmits the refinement of the gentleman, dressed in dark colours with collar and cuffs in fine white lace, with a pleasing spontaneity. Leaning casually against a fine console of richly decorated gilded wood, with the family coat of arms at the centre, through his deep gaze, he emits with proud nobility a psychological strength filled with feeling.
The style is enhanced by an atmosphere rendered through the use of light and dark built up with intense brushstrokes, effortlessly achieving a perfection of form, reinforced by the chosen pose, a dazzling silk handkerchief in his hand.
The painting may be one of a cycle of seven “Standing portraits of the Sacchetti” mentioned in a 1639 inventory. In 1644, the canvas is mentioned in an inventory by Antonio Barberini. It is not known how it became part of the Borghese collection, where it was documented in 1833 and where it was enlarged to serve as a pendant to the Portrait of Monsignor Clemente Merlini by Andrea Sacchi. The painting was restored and returned to its original dimensions in 1931.

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Current Owner:

Italian State

Original Owner:


How Object was obtained:

The Borghese Collection was acquired by the Italian State in 1902.

Selected bibliography:

Della Pergola, P., Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, II, Rome, 1959, n.162, pp. 110–111.
Guarino, S., in Pietro da Cortona 1597–1669, exhibition catalogue (Rome), Milan, 1997, cat. 25, pp. 320–321.

Additional Copyright Information:

Copyright image: Archivio fotografico Soprintendenza Speciale PSAE e Polo Museale della Città di Roma.

Citation of this web page:

Sofia Barchiesi, Maria Assunta  Sorrentino "Portrait of Marcello Sacchetti" in Discover Baroque Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;BAR;it;Mus11;22;en&id=portraits

Prepared by: Sofia BarchiesiSofia Barchiesi

SURNAME: Barchiesi
NAME: Sofia

TITLE: Author and Researcher

Sofia Barchiesi, a graduate and specialist in Art History and recipient of a scholarship from the School of Mediaeval and Modern Art History at Lumsa University, has been working with the Superintendency for Historical Artistic Heritage and the Museums of Rome since the late 1980s. She was responsible for cataloguing the art of the region and museums of Rome, studying the period of the Counter-Reformation particularly closely. She works with journals and writes essays, alternating her research and teaching work.
, Maria Assunta SorrentinoMaria Assunta Sorrentino

SURNAME: Sorrentino
NAME: Maria Assunta

AFFILIATION: Borghese Gallery, Rome

TITLE: Conservation Department Co-ordinator

Maria Assunta Sorrentino, holder a of a Diploma in Painting and Fresco Restoration and a degree in the Science of Cultural Heritage (historical-artistic), has worked at the Borghese Gallery since 1993, where she manages the Conservation Department and is in charge of the technical and organisational co-ordination of temporary exhibitions. She is currently working on the Ten Great Exhibitions project underway at the Borghese Gallery. She has published several papers on conservation and history in relation to the exhibition, with particular reference to artists such as Bernini, Domenichino, Canova and Caravaggio.

Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: IT1 28

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