Sansovino, Jacopo

Sansovino, Jacopo
(Jacopo Tatti; 1486-1570)
   Florentine architect and sculptor who trained with Andrea Sansovino from whom he adopted his surname. He traveled to Rome in 1505 or 1506 where he entered Donato Bramante's circle. For the next two decades he split his time between Rome and Florence, leaving the papal city permanently in 1527 when imperial forces invaded. Sansovino established himself in Venice, where he spent the rest of his life. In 1529, he was appointed principal architect of the Venetian Republic, an office he held for 40 years. In 1537 he began his greatest masterpiece, the Library of St. Mark, built directly across from the Doge's Palace. The purpose of the structure was to house the famous book collection of the humanist Cardinal Basilius Bessarion who bequeathed it to the Venetian Republic in 1468. In 1545, a major frost caused part of the building's ceiling to collapse, resulting in Sansovino's imprisonment. His friends Titian and Pietro Aretino spoke out in his favor and he soon was released and able to resume his position as official architect. Sansovino did not see the building completed; his pupil, Vincenzo Scamozzi, finished the structure after his death.
   The library adjoins the Campanile of the Basilica of St. Mark. At the Campanile's foot, Sansovino built a small loggia, called the Loggetta (beg. 1538), meant as a meeting hall for Venetian patricians during the Councils of State. Its design, based on an ancient triumphal arch, harmonizes with the design of his library. The other major commission Sansovino received from the Venetian Republic was the Zecca or mint (beg. 1536), adjoining the library. With this structure, Sansovino introduced to Venice the Mannerist custom of rusticating the columns of the façade, already used by Giulio Romano in the Palazzo del Tè (1527-1534) in Mantua. The Palazzo Corner de la Cà Grande (beg. c. 1545) is the only major commission Sansovino received from a private family. The structure, with its Mannerist elements also inspired by Giulio Romano, established a new Venetian palace type that was to be emulated by future architects in the 16th and 17th centuries.
   See also Sack of Rome.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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