Francesco Allegrini was the son of the painter Flaminio Allegrini, who is documented as working in Rome between 1625 and 1635. Francesco was mostly active in Rome in the middle of the 17th century. He is thought to be a pupil and follower of Cavaliere d’Arpino, before entering the studio of Pietro da Cortona.
Allegrini was elected to the Accademia di San Luca in 1655, together with Pierfrancesco Mola, and had a productive career as a fresco painter. He received commissions from many of the leading Roman noble families, including the Mattei, Aldobrandini, Colonna and Altieri. For Pope Innocent X he frescoed the Palazzo Pamphili with scenes from the story of Dido and Aeneas in the early 1650’s, while for Alexander VII he contributed to the decoration of the Vatican loggia. Allegrini was also active in the Roman churches of Sant’Agnese, Santi Domenico e Sisto, San Marco and the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. He painted a number of works in his native Gubbio around 1660, and may have worked in Genoa.
Allegrini was a prolific draughtsman, although only rarely can his drawings be connected with known paintings or frescoes. He worked mainly in pen and ink, but also in chalk and wash. He stressed his natural gift for drawing and his taste for the minute; he saw the essence of his graphic art in the graceful, appealing penmanship.
Large groups of drawings by Allegrini, characterized by rapid, sketchy pen-work and relatively small dimensions, are in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig.