SANSOVINO, Jacopo
(b. 1486, Firenze, d. 1570, Venezia)

Biography

Italian architect and sculptor, who was instrumental in introducing the High Renaissance style to Venice. Originally named Jacopo Tatti, he was trained in Florence by the sculptor Andrea Sansovino, whose name he adopted; his early sculpture was influenced principally by ancient classical works.

In 1527 Sansovino settled in Venice. Appointed state superintendent of building in 1529, he designed palaces, churches, and public buildings, uniting the classical tradition of the Florentine master Bramante with the more highly ornamented Venetian style. The Palazzo Corner (designed 1532) represents the first successful use of the classical façade - columns, arcades, and arched windows - in Venice; it became the standard for Venetian palaces for the next century.

Sansovino's masterpiece, the Libreria Vecchia (Old Library, 1536-88), on the Piazzetta San Marco, is based on the ancient Roman Theater of Marcellus; Doric columns frame the ground-floor arcade and Ionic columns frame that of the second floor to create a long, majestic façade. As in all his buildings, the architecture is profusely ornamented with superb freestanding sculptures and deeply carved friezes. Sansovino was a strong influence on the later Venetian architects Andrea Palladio and Baldassare Longhena.