warmly received in Venice, Lorenzo Lotto referring to him upon his arrival
as "second only to Michaelangelo." With the encouragement of Doge Andrea
Gritti, Sansovino quickly became the most influential architect of Venice
and his imprint is found throughout the city today. Despite invitations
and commissions proffered by Francis I of France and Henry VIII of England,
Sansovino after his arrival there left the Veneto only once, for a brief
trip to Bologna.
In 1529 Sansovino
was appointed proto of the Procurators of San Marco, the most
influential architectural office in the Republic. In that role he moved
quickly to promote the reworking of the Piazza di San Marco into its
present form. Construction of the new Zecca [Mint] to his design began
in 1536, after tedious negotiations with the cheese-and-salami sellers
guild who had occupied a portion of the site for hundreds of years.
He also designed the Biblioteca [Library] Marciana opposite the Doge's
Palace and the Loggetta begun at the base of the Campanile of the Basilica,
construction of both beginning 1537. The Fabbriche Nuove di Rialto,
begun 1554, was another of his public structures.
his own sculpture output, he also supervised the production of others
in his sculpture workshop and, at the same time, began to accept religious
and private architectural commissions. For monastic clients he designed
the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna (begun 1534) and completed the
Church of Santo Spirito in Isola. Sansovino was also involved with three
parish churches--S. Martino, S. Giuliano and S. Geminiano--and with
the hospital church of the Incurabili. For charitable institutions,
he created the Scuola Grande della Misericordia and the state hospital
Ca' di Dio. For private clients, Sansovino's works include Palazzo Dolfin
(begun 1538), Ca' Cornaro della Ca' Granda
(begun 1545), Ca' Moro (perhaps) and, in the countryside of the Veneto,
the fascinating Villa Garzoni at Pontecasale (c. 1537).
The late portrait
of Sansovino shown above is by his contemporary Tintoretto
[Jacopo Robusti]. Vasari noted that Sansovino "enjoyed dressing elegantly
and was very well-groomed; and he took pleasure in women right up to
the end of his life . . ."