SANSOVINO, Andrea
(b. ca. 1467, Monte Sansovino, d. 1529, Monte Sansovino)

Biography

Tuscan sculptor who began by modelling in terracotta and then specialized in marble carving. His real name was Andrea Contucci.

He was in Portugal 1491-1500 as an artistic emissary of Lorenzo de' Medici. Returning to Florence he carved two statues for Genoa cathedral and another two forming the Baptism of Christ for the Florentine Baptistry (1502-05); these four statues constitute the epitome of High Renaissance sculpture, equivalent to the paintings of, for instance, Fra Bartolommeo.

In 1505 he was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II to carve a pair of marble tombs in the choir of S. Maria del Popolo, which was being redesigned by Bramante; they resemble ancient Roman triumphal arches containing some eight statues each. He followed this success with a group of the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (S. Agostino, Rome), based on Leonardo's variations on the theme (e.g. the cartoon in the National Gallery, London).

From 1513 until his death he was put in charge of the marble cladding of the Holy House in the basilica of Loreto, carving two of the large narrative reliefs personally, and supervising a team of younger sculptors. This commission is one of the finest manifestations of High Renaissance architecture and sculpture.