STRADA, Jacopo
(b. ca. 1515, Mantova, d. 1588, Wien)


Italian architect, painter, collector, antiquary, part of a family of artists, scholars and collectors, active in central Europe. He worked primarily as an architect and antiquary in Germany and Austria and was employed by Maximilian I and II. His son, the emblematician and antiquary Ottavio Strada (1550-1606), worked at first with him and then independently in Prague for Emperor Rudolf II.

Jacopo Strada's significance as an artistic personality lies almost exclusively in the field of architecture, his name can be definitely linked with several influential projects north of the Alps: the Munich Antiquarium, and the Neugebäude and his own house in Vienna. In these he was strongly influenced by his early training under Giulio Romano and, in general, by central Italian architecture of the first half of the 16th century.

In his ornamental designs, such as the elaborate and elegant title-pages of his manuscripts, he developed a courtly style that appears to owe more to Primaticcio than to the more classicist manner of Giulio. Yet, though Strada was certainly a competent draughtsman and an architect of some standing, he is of interest chiefly as an agent in the transmission of the values and formal language of the Italian Renaissance to regions north of the Alps, both through his commissions and through the influence of his collection or Musaeum, which was accessible to both artists and patrons. In particular, his collection of Italian drawings was potentially influential for the development of the arts, as Strada recognized; not only did he use this material to prepare 'libri di disegni' for his patrons, but he also attempted, largely in vain, to propagate it by means of the printing press.

Titian painted a brilliant portrait of Jacopo Strada, while his son Ottavio was portrayed by Marietta Robusti, the daughter of Tintoretto.