Sabbatini was born in Bologna and studied with Prospero Fontana, who was his teacher and collaborator, and was a friend of Orazio Samacchini. His style was also influenced by Giorgio Vasari and the Emilian mannerism of Parmigianino.
In 1573 he moved to Rome to work under Vasari in the Cappella Paolina (with Federico Zuccari) and Sala Regia of the Vatican, where he adopted many of the stylistic traits of Raphael's school and produced perhaps his most famous painting, The Triumph of Faith over Infidelity. After Vasari's death in 1574, Gregory XIII appointed Sabatini superintendent of works in the Vatican, a post he retained until his own premature death.
- "Sabbatini, Lorenzo". Treccani (in Italian). Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Amaturo, Matilde. "Sabatini, Lorenzo". Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 1 December 2013. (subscription required)
- Freedberg, Sydney Joseph (1993). Painting in Italy, 1500-1600. Pelican history of art (volume 35). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. pp. 566–567. ISBN 978-0-300-05587-0.
- Sabbatini, Lorenzo. In: A New General Biographical Dictionary, by Hugh James Rose.