Jacopo d'Antonio Sansovino (2 July 1486 – 27 November 1570) was an
Italian sculptor and architect, known best for his works around the
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco in Venice. Andrea Palladio, in the Preface to his
Quattro Libri was of the opinion that Sansovino's Biblioteca Marciana
was the best building erected since Antiquity.
Giorgio Vasari uniquely
printed his Vita of Sansovino separately.
4 See also
5.1 Further reading
He was born in
Florence and apprenticed with
Andrea Sansovino whose
name he subsequently adopted, changing his name from Jacopo Tatti.
Rome he attracted the notice of Bramante and Raphael and made a wax
model of the Deposition of Christ for
Perugino to use.
He returned to
Florence in 1511 where he received commissions for
marble sculptures of St. James for the Duomo and a Bacchus, now in the
Bargello. His proposals for sculpture to adorn the façade of the
Church of San Lorenzo, however, were rejected by Michelangelo, who was
in charge of the scheme, to whom he wrote a bitter letter of protest
In the period of 1510-17 he shared a studio with the painter Andrea
del Sarto, with whom he shared models. Like all sixteenth-century
Italian architects, Sansovino devoted considerable energy to elaborate
but temporary structures related to courtly ritual. The triumphant
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X into
Florence in 1515 was a highpoint of this
genre. He subsequently returned to
Rome where he stayed for nine
years, leaving for
Venice in the year of the Sack of Rome.
In 1529, Sansovino became chief architect and superintendent of
properties (Protomaestro or Proto) to the Procurators of San Marco,
making him one of the most influential artists in Venice. The
appointment came with a salary of 80 ducats and an apartment near the
clocktower in San Marco. Within a year his salary was raised to 180
ducats per year. His masterworks embody prominent structures and
buildings in central
Venice found near Piazza San Marco, specifically
the rusticated Zecca (public mint), the highly decorated Loggetta and
its sculptures adjoining the Campanile, and various statues and
reliefs for the Basilica of San Marco. He also helped rebuild a number
of buildings, churches, palaces, and institutional buildings including
the churches of San Zulian, San Francesco della Vigna, San Martino,
San Geminiano (now destroyed), Santo Spirito in Isola, and the church
of the Incurabili. Among palaces and buildings are the Scuola Grande
della Misericordia (early plans), Ca' de Dio, Palazzo Dolfin Manin,
Palazzo Corner, Palazzo Moro, and the Fabbriche Nuove di Rialto.
His masterpiece is the Library of Saint Mark's, the Biblioteca
Marciana, one of Venice's most richly decorated Renaissance
structures, which stands in front of the Doge's palace, across the
piazzetta. Construction spanned fifty years and cost over 30,000
ducats. In it he successfully made the architectural language of
classicism, traditionally associated with severity and restraint,
palatable to the Venetians with their love of surface decoration. This
paved the way for the graceful architecture of Andrea Palladio.
He died in
Venice and his sepulchre is in the Baptistery of St. Mark's
Basilica. His most important follower in the medium of sculpture was
Alessandro Vittoria; another disciple was the architect and sculptor
Jacopo Sansovino's works
Door Knocker with Nereid, Triton, and Putti,
St. John the Baptist Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Statue of Thomas Rangone by Jacopo Sansovino
^ D. Howard page 9.
^ D. Howard.
^ D. Howard page 155.
Boucher, Bruce. The Sculpture of Jacopo Sansovino. 2 vols. (New Haven:
Yale University Press) 1991. Monograph and catalogue raisonné of the
Tafuri, Manfredo (Jessica Levine, translator).
Venice and the
Renaissance. (Cambridge MA: MIT Press) (1985) 1989. Sansovino's
Jacopo Sansovino Architecture and Patronage in
Renaissance Venice. Yale University Press 1975.
Hart, Vaughan, Hicks, Peter, Sansovino's
Venice (New Haven: Yale
University Press) 2017.
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