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

St James of Compostella

1520
Marble
Santa Maria di Monserrato, Rome

The St James of Compostella amounts to a paraphrase of a motif from Michelangelo's projects for San Lorenzo, Florence. Finished by January 1520, the statue formed the centrepiece of a funerary chapel for Cardinal Giacomo Serra in San Giacomo degli Spagnoli, where the sculptor worked with Antonio da Sangallo the Younger under Cardinal Antonio de' Monte as executor of the Spanish cardinal's will. Sansovino conceived the figure as an Apollonian god, less graceful than the Florentine St James but more imposing. The saint is close in spirit to Michelangelo's Risen Christ (Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome), but beneath the Classical and Michelangelesque overtones a Florentine substratum is still discernible.