Sacchi's "Portrait of a Cardinal"Home
| Français | Introduction
by Ann Sutherland Harris
Pages 1 | 2
1 Herman Voss, Die Malerei des Barock in Rom, Berlin, 1924, p. 532.
2 Robert Enggass, The Painting of Baciccio, University Park,
Pennsylvania, 1964, p. 164.
3 See The National Gallery of Canada Catalogue of Paintings and
Sculpture, Volume I: Older Schools, ed. by R. H. Hubbard, Ottawa,
1961, p. 21, for a convenient summary of the previous literature.
Other attributions include Caravaggio, Bernardo Strozzi and G. B.
5 Most of Sacchi's paintings and frescoes are still in the Roman
churches and palaces for which they were made. The only museum
outside Italy that has more than one painting by him is the Prado
(see Hans Posse, Der Romische Maler Andrea Sacchi, Leipzig, 1925,
and the same author's good, short account in Thieme-Becker, sub
voce. A summary of most later research will be found in A. S. Harris
and Eckhard Schaar, Die Handzeichnungen von Andrea Sacchi und Carlo
Maratta, Düsseldorf, 1964, pp. 17-69}.
6 Giori was made a Cardinal in that year. As a Barberini protégé,
his career was severely hampered by the fall of the Barberini after
the death of Urbau VIII in 1644. As Papal treasurer, Giori made
payments to Sacchi for various commissions in the early 1640s
(Oscar Pollak, Die Kunsttiitigkeit unter Urban VIII, Vienna,
1928-31, vol. I, p. 142); for other contacts between Giori and
Sacchi, see B. Feliciaugeli, II Cardinale Angelo Giori da Camerino e
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sanseverino-Marche, 1917, p. 12, and passim.
Sacchi's portrait of Giori is known only from a photograph taken
when it appeared in a sale in 1906; its present location is not
known (see Voss, p. 532 and Possein Thieme-Becker, p. 290).
7 Although it is true that the compositions of cardinals' portraits
vary little, in this case the resemblance is very close indeed.
Sacchi clearly copied the earlier work, changing only the head,
hands and physical proportions of the sitter, Giori being a smaller,
thinner man than the Ottawa cardinal.
8 See note 18 below.
9 For this commission, see Ann Sutherland Harris, " Andrea
Sacchi and Emilio Savonanzi at the Collegio Romano," Burlington
Magazine, vol. cx, 1968, pp. 249-57. Both sketches are discussed in
Masters of the Loaded Brush-Oil Sketches From Rubens to Tiepolo, an
exhibition organized by the Department of Art History and
Archeology, Columbia University, New York, and held at Knoedlers,
New York, in May 1967 (see cat. no. 6). The sketch illustrated here
is in the Brian Sewell Collection, London.
10 Pollak, vol. II, p. 89.
11 The portrait of Ginnasi given to Sacchi in the Museo di Roma
(Palazzo Braschi) in Rome is far too weak for the attribution to be
tenable. Perhaps Ginnasi's painter niece, Caterina, was responsible.
12 Francis Haskell, Patrons and Painters, London, 1963, pp. 28-9,
gives a good, brief account of Cardinal del Monte's career and
activities as a patron. His patronage of Sacchi is more extensive
than Haskell knew; all Sacchi's major commissions between 1621 and
1626 originated with del Monte.
13 Among the documents to be published in my forthcoming monograph
on Sacchi is an inventory of his household possessions made a few
days after his death in June 1661. This describes his front parlour,
with portraits of Urban VIII, Alexander VII, Cardinal del Monte, Don
Taddeo Barberini and the three Barberini cardinals, an arrangement
clearly designed to impress the arriving visitor.
14 It was exhibited at Agnew's in June 1967 (see the Burlington
Magazine, vol. cix, 1967, p. 375, fig. 52). The drawing is now in
the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida. I wish to thank the
Ringling Museum for permission to illustrate the drawing here.
15 Sacchi's Miracle of St Gregory the Great
(Chapter House, St
Peter's, Rome) of 1625-6 lacks the confidence and assured paint
handling seen in works he executed a few years later (e.g. the Prado
Birth of the Virgin of 1628-9, the Collegio Romano sketches of
1929-30, the Divina Sapienza
ceiling in the Palazzo Barberini of
1629-31 and the Vision of St Romuald
of 1631). A date after the
death of Cardinal del Monte is therefore preferable for the Ottawa
picture, a factor which also militates against its identification
with del Monte.
16 Haskell, pp. 28-9.
17 Ann Sutherland Harris, "The Date of Andrea Sacchi's Vision
of St Romuald," Burlington Magazine, vol. cx, 1968, pp. 489-94.
18 Ibid., p. 490, n. 12.
19 His tomb in S. Francesco a Ripa is unmarked and none of the
seicento publications in his honour that I was able to trace
contained a frontispiece with a portrait (e.g. Romanae
Aedijicationes curatae a Laelio Biscae...a Leone Allatio Conscriptionae,
Padua, 1644). I was unable to trace a copy of
Francescus Guerrinus, Gli Tre Finti Villani,
Cardinali Biscae, Urbe
Veteri (Orvieto), apud Rinaldum, 1632.
20. J. A. F. Orbaan, Documenti sul Barocco a Roma, Rome, 1920, pp.
216, 221, 313 and 315. For other biographical data, see note 13 of the
article cited in note 17 above.
21. For all these details, see
Niccolà Barozzi and Guglielmo Berchet, Relazioni degli Stati
Europei lette al Senato dagli Ambasciatori Veneti del Secolo
Serie III-Italia Relazioni di Roma, 1877-8, vol. I,
p. 278. "Biscia, di 55 anni, pare totalmente abandonato, non
essendo impiegato in congregationi particolari che si vanno facendo
alla giornata in cose che occorrono nel mondo. Egli è povero e
rimane povero, avendo ricevuto poco, credesi perà che i signori
Barberini non abbino pensiero di coltivar punto questo soggetto. La
scusa è pronta patendo egli un poco di sordità d'orrecchia; dico
scusa perchè non è veramente questa la vera cagione. Questo
abbandono comincià subito dopo la sua promozione, vogliono i più
perspicaci che ne fosse causa la troppo scoperta pratica, con che
egli si portava al Pontificato, pretendo quei signori, che niuno di
sua posta debba imbarcarsi se non posto in barca da loro medesimi.
Egli perà s'ajuta con la cortesia, la quale è in eccesso, onde la
Corte di oggidi d'altrettanto si Ioda della sua generosità, hora
che è Cardinale, questo si doleva della molta sua austerità quando
erà Prelato" (written 1627-9).
22 Sacchi was one of a number of artists active in Rome in the 1620s
affected by the presence of Titian's Bacchanals
(now in the Prado
and the National Gallery, London). They arrived from Ferrara with
Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini at the turn of the century and by
1625 had generated a "neo-Venetian" movement, Nicolas
Poussin being the artist most profoundly affected by them. It became
as essential for young painters to study and copy this set of
pictures at this time as it was to master more traditional older
masters such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Giulio Romano and Polidoro da
Caravaggio. The impact of Titian's three masterpieces is seen in all
of Sacchi's work executed in the 1620s and early 1630s, including
the Ottawa picture.
Top of this page
Index | Author
& Subject | Credits | Contact
This digital collection
was produced under contract to Canada's Digital Collections program,
Collections Program, Copyright
© National Gallery of