As sculptor and architect, Jacopo Sansovino left his mark on the Renaissance cities of Rome and Florence, but it was his city of exile, Venice, that he shaped anew through the majestic formation of its most important plaza.
Named Jacopo Tatti, the artist adopted the surname of sculptor Andrea Sansovino, to whom he was apprenticed in Florence. When Andrea Sansovino undertook a commission in Rome in 1505, Jacopo stayed behind to work with another sculptor but later followed him to Rome. There he studied and was praised for his copies of Classical sculptures; indeed, Raphael and architect Donato Bramante gave Jacopo a prize for the best copy of the recently excavated antique sculpture of the Laocöon. Although he established a successful career in Florence and Rome, Sansovino fled central Italy with the Sack of Rome in 1527. On the way to France to serve King François I, Sansovino stopped in Venice and was immediately taken up by a group of influential patricians. Soon named Proto(chief architect) of Piazza San Marco, the main plaza in the city, Sansovino designed and supervised the building projects of the Cathedral of San Marco, including the Zecca (Mint), the library, and the doge's palace, transforming the piazza into the harmoniously integrated urban space it remains today.