Berretini Pietro (called Da Cortona), an illustrious Florentine painter and architect, was born at Cortona in 1596. He studied under Baccio Ciarpi in Rome, when quite young, but gained more advantagefrom the study of the works of Raffaelle and Caravaggio. While yet young, he painted two pictures, representing the Rape of the Sabines and a Battle of Alexander, which gained him so much celebrity that pope Urban VIII commissioned him to paint a chapel in the Church of St. Bibiena, which he did with success. Cortona made the tour of Lombardy, went to Venice, and, in returning, visited Florence, where he was engaged by the grand-duke Ferdinand II to paint the saloon and four apartments in the Palazzo Pitti, where he represented the Clenency of Alexander to the Family of Darius, the Firmness of Porsena, the Continence of Cyrus, the History of Massanissa, and other subjects. Disgusted by the intrigues of some artists, who were jealous of his reputation, he left Florence abruptly, before he had finished his works, and could never be persuaded to return. His principal works at Rome are the saloon in the Barberini and a gallery in the Pamphili, the cupola and vault in the tribune of the Chiesa Nuova, and the Conversion of St. Paul at the Capuccilli. As an architect, he erected a number of important edifices. He died in 1669. See Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, s.v.; Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.