(b. ca. 1467, Monte Sansovino, d. 1529, Monte Sansovino)
Tomb of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza1505
Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome
Sansovino abandoned important commissions in Florence, for the cathedral and the Palazzo Vecchio, on being summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II to design and carve tombs for Cardinal Ascanio Sforza and Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere, commissioned in 1505 and 1507 respectively. The tombs were carefully integrated into Donato Bramante's new choir for Santa Maria del Popolo, prompting debate as to Bramante's possible role in the design of the framing motif of a triumphal arch. Sansovino's use of the motif in the Corbinelli Altar, however, suggests that the design is his. For the tomb sculpture he referred to ancient funerary and architectural sculpture, introducing a semi-reclining figure in place of the traditional effigy, and setting personifications of Virtues into the triumphal arch frame.
Standing behind the high altar against the left wall, Ascanio Sforza's tomb was one of the main features of a decorative scheme that included frescoes by Pinturicchio and windows by Guillaume de Marcillat. For the wall opposite, Julius II commissioned a companion monument to Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere, a cousin of the Pope, who died two years after Sforza. The tombs are fully integrated in the choir.