SANGALLO, Antonio da, the Younger
(b. 1483, Firenze, d. 1546, Firenze)

Palazzo Farnese: Façade

1517-50
Photo
Piazza Farnese, Rome

In 1517, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese acquired a palace in the centre of Rome and decided to rebuild it from the designs of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, an imaginative architect, the nephew of Giuliano and Antonio the Elder. That it is the most majestic and influential of all Roman Renaissance palaces is due to the combined efforts of Antonio and Michelangelo who completed the building after the death of Antonio in 1546.

Antonio's design was ambitious from the start - an immense rectangle whose façade is a towering block of masonry with rustication restricted to the corners and the central, arched entrance. The grand effect of the façade depends largely on a single change made by Michelangelo. Antonio's cornice would probably have been narrow, but in 1546 Alessandro, now Pope Paul III, accepted the design of Michelangelo for the present colossal cornice which was so heavy that in some places Antonio's walls had to be rebuilt to provide an adequate foundation.