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Jacopo Sansovino

(1486—1570) Italian sculptor and architect

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(bapt. Florence, 2 July 1486; d Venice, 27 Nov. 1570).

Florentine sculptor and architect, active mainly in Venice. He trained under Andrea Sansovino, whose name he adopted as a sign of his admiration. In 1505/6 he followed Andrea to Rome, where he moved in the circle of Bramante and Raphael and worked on the restoration of ancient sculpture. From c.1510 to 1518 he was again in Florence, where he shared a studio with Andrea del Sarto, and he then returned to Rome until the Sack of 1527, when he moved to Venice. There he was appointed state architect (1529), formed a close friendship with Titian, and became a dominant figure in the art establishment. Sansovino played a major role in introducing the High Renaissance style to Venice in both architecture and sculpture, and his sculptures are often important decorative elements of his buildings. His most celebrated work, one of Venice's most familiar sights, is the glorious Library of San Marco (begun 1537). As a sculptor he is best known for the colossal marble figures of Mars and Neptune (1554–66) in the courtyard of the Doges' Palace, although the carving was done by assistants. Sansovino's sculptural style was firmly rooted in his study of antiquity, but it was in no way academic and possessed great vitality. He studied assiduously from the life as well as from the antique, and legend has it that the model for his marble Bacchus (1511–12, Bargello, Florence) went mad through being made to pose for hours on end with his arm raised and one day was found in this position standing naked on top of a chimney. Sansovino's son Francesco (1521–83) was a scholar of diverse interests. His Venetia città nobilissima (Venice, Most Noble City), published in 1581, is an important sourcebook—the first attempt to give a systematic account of a city's artistic heritage.

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