Sacchi was a native Roman, and worked in the city for his entire career, although he travelled to Bologna and Parma in northern Italy and painted altarpieces for churches in Umbria and Marche. He trained first with his father, an artist of modest talents, and then in turn with the highly successful Cavalier d’Arpino and with Francesco Albani. His precocious talents as a draughtsman brought him to the attention of a major patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, and he also received early support and commissions from Cardinal Antonio Barberini the Elder and the Mattei and Sacchetti families. But Sacchi lacked confidence as an artist, early in his career turning down a prestigious commission for an altarpiece for Saint Peter’s, although he was later to deliver two. He became an active member of the artists’ Academy of Saint Luke, who in theoretical debates in the 1630s championed a more restrained, classical approach to painting against the more dynamic, baroque style advocated by Pietro da Cortona. Their respective positions are eloquently expressed by the allegorical ceiling frescoes each artist painted in Palazzo Barberini. Sacchi’s popularity declined as his career advanced, but he trained the most successful artist of the following generation, Carlo Maratta.