SAVIN, Paolo di Matteo
(active 1506-1519 in Venice)

Tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Zen

Zen Chapel, Basilica di San Marco, Venice

In 1505 Alessandro Leopardi and Antonio Lombardo signed a contract to make an altar and a "sepulcher" for Cardinal Zen, to be installed in his chapel in San Marco. Antonio Lombardo was the creative director while Leopardi was put in charge of casting the bronzes. Just a year later the procurators replaced Leopardi with other specialists who had experience in casting large bronze pieces. Antonio Lombardo moved to Ferrara, and the project was handed over first to his father, Pietro, then to his brother Tullio.

The models for the project are attributed to Antonio Lombardo from whose hand we have some of the altar figures, including a Madonna with a serious expression. Tullio modified the plan by introducing classical architectural features. As the years went by, several jobs were given out to other sculptors: Giovanni Battista Bregno carved the figures on the sarcophagus, and Paolo Savin was responsible for the model of St John the Baptist, the recumbent figure of the cardinal, and the altar frontal.

It was not until 1521 that this richest of Venetian Renaissance tombs was finished.

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