Historical figure Jacopo Sansovino

Born in: 1486  - Died in: 1570
Jacopo Sansovino known as Sansovino was an Italian architect and sculptor. It was the Proto (maximum architect) of the Venetian Republic from 1529 until his death.

He began his artistic apprenticeship in the workshop of Andrea Contucci, called Il Sansovino, from which he also inherited the nickname, around 1506 in Rome, accompanied by Giuliano da Sangallo the Younger; if his first autonomous works and autographs are only documented starting from the following return to Florence, from 1511 to 1518, while it is very probable that he will make the last of the sculptures (left) in the choir of Santa Maria del Popolo , where Andrea Sansovino was working on the 2 funeral monuments Ascanio Sforza and Girolamo della Rovere under the direction of Donato Bramante. For example, the Bacco al Bargello, commissioned by Giovanni Bartolini, who is a little later than the analogous Bacchus by Michelangelo, from which he voluntarily departs because of the very different personality of the sculptor, with a different expressive approach closer to classical art. Other works related to the style of his master Andrea such as the San Jacopo Apostolo (1511, Duomo di Firenze) or the San Jacopo di Compostela (1518, church of Santa Maria di Monserrato, Rome), albeit with some detail that reveals a new 'michelangiolesca influence, like the twist of the figures. Also in Florence he participated in the competition for the creation of the New Market without winning it. The best result was the competition for the Basilica of San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini in Rome, banned by Leo X in 1514, in which Raffaello, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Baldassarre Peruzzi also took part. His project was chosen, but following technical difficulties, he left the building site shortly after the start by delegating Antonio da Sangallo.

In 1515 he took part in the competition for the façade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, where he came in direct contact with Michelangelo, who won the competition even if the work is still unfinished, from which he drew up the volumes of his subsequent architectural works. , with greater chiaroscuro effects given by the contrast between full and empty spaces.

His second Roman period (1516-1527) is characterized by a development of his style towards greater grandeur, as in the Madonna del Parto in the Basilica of Sant'Agostino (1521), the Sant'Antonio today for San Petronio in Bologna and the monuments funeral services to Cardinal Sant'Angelo and Antonio Urso in the church of San Marcello al Corso, together with Andrea Sansovino, and the one to Cardinal Quignone in Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, independently. As an architect he restored the chapels (and perhaps also other architectural elements) in the aforementioned San Marcello al Corso, which had been destroyed by fire in 1519 and was largely completed in 1527, and created Palazzo Lante, which marks the first work where his style derived from the scanning of Bramante's spaces, begins to be evident.

He fled from Rome following the Sack of 1527, repairing in Venice, where he only wanted to go in the direction of France. Instead he was held in the city after being presented to the doge Andrea Gritti by Cardinal Grimani, after receiving an immediate commission for the restoration of the domes of the Basilica of San Marco. In Venice he settled permanently and left the lagoon city only for a trip to his hometown in 1540.

As a premise of the architecture of Sansovino, it must be remembered that the city of Venice, thanks to its particular politics and its geographical position, presents characteristics of buildings different from the other major cities of the time. The rise of the buildings was not influenced by war structures, such as ramparts or fortresses, so as to allow artists such as Sansovino to work on the construction or construction of buildings thinking exclusively of the aesthetic aspect.

He was the first architect in the city of the canals to introduce the monumental style of the mature renaissance, although adapted to the architectural characteristics of the city, until then dominated by the ornate and meticulous style of Codussi and Lombardo. He probably participated in the reconstruction of the Procuratie Vecchie, in the final phase of the works, and from this intervention the complete renovation project of Piazza San Marco took place, including the building of the Marciana Library (until 1546), the Loggia of the Campanile (1537- 1540 for which he also sculpted the reliefs and statues in the niches), and finally the new Procuratie, a construction to which Vincenzo Scamozzi and Baldassare Longhena waited, due to his death, the first of which modified the original project of Tatti, adding to the building a further floor, and therefore raising it compared to the Marciana Library. Sansovino was named Proto della Repubblica, that is, maximum architect, in 1529, a prestigious office he held until his death.

At the time of the restructuring of the square the Sansovino had also been the author of the church of San Geminiano, a masterpiece destroyed by Napoleon's will, who had the present Napoleonic Wing built there. Another work destroyed following the Napoleonic suppressions is the church of Santo Spirito on the homonymous island of the Lagoon, of which today only parts of the perimeter walls remain.

Other Venetian works are the interior of the Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia, the Mint (1536-1540), the Palazzo Corner on the Grand Canal (from 1537), the church of San Francesco alla Vigna (1534, then completed by Palladio), the Tribuna del Duomo (1538), the church of San Martino (1540), the altar of the Assumption by Titian in the Duomo of Verona (1543), the Scala d'oro in the Palazzo Ducale (1554).
Villa Garzoni, Pontecasale, Candiana

On the mainland a work of considerable importance is Villa Garzoni in Pontecasale di Candiana, in the lower Padua area.

As for his work as a sculptor in Venice, there were numerous commission for marble and bronze, such as the Madonna with Child for the arsenal of Venice (1534), the Miracle of the child Parrasio and the healing of the young Carilla for the basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua (1535-36), the sculptures, the chancel of the presbytery and the bronze door of the Sacristy of San Marco (1537-1546), the Baptist for the church of the Frari (1540-1550).

Thanks to his friendship with Pietro Aretino and Tiziano he was admitted into the Venetian patriciate. At his death he was celebrated as one of the Republic's most notable and influential architects. He was succeeded by Proto Andrea Palladio, who also in 1549 built the upper roof of Palazzo della Loggia in Brescia, based on a project by Sansovino.

Its ashes are now preserved in the baptistery of the Basilica of San Marco. His son Francesco Sansovino was an important writer and art critic.

Jacopo Sansovino Visited places

Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana

 Piazzetta San Marco, 7 - 30124 Venezia - Venice

The Marciana Library is located in Piazza San Marco, between the Campanile and the Mint, and is the most important library in Venice, as well as one of the largest in Italy, built following the... see

Offered services

Museum / Monument

Time period

Italy, Venice

Villa Garzoni Michiel

 Via Liston - 35020 Candiana - Padua

Located in the small village of Pontecasale, a hamlet of Candiana, it is the only example of a country building designed by Jacopo Sansovino. The Villa is surrounded by an imposing city wall that... see

Time period

Italy, Padua