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Giuliano da Sangallo

Portrait by Piero di Cosimo, c. 1482-1485 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Giuliano da Sangallo (c. 1445–1516) was an Italian sculptor, architect and military engineer active during the Italian Renaissance.

He was born in Florence. His father Francesco Giamberti was a woodworker and architect, much employed by Cosimo de Medici, and his brother Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and nephew Antonio da Sangallo the Younger were architects. His son Francesco da Sangallo was a sculptor. Giuliano was the preferred architect of Lorenzo de' Medici, so a significant number of his commissions came from the Medici.

During the early part of his life Giuliano worked chiefly for Lorenzo de' Medici, known as 'the Magnificent', for whom he built a fine palace at Poggio a Caiano, begun in 1485, between Florence and Pistoia, and strengthened the fortifications of Florence, Castellana and other places. Lorenzo also employed him to build a monastery of Augustinian Friars outside the Florentine gate of San Gallo, which was destroyed during the siege of Florence in 1530.

It was from this building that Giuliano received the name of Sangallo, which was afterwards used by so many Italian architects. While still in the pay of Lorenzo, Giuliano visited Naples, and worked there for the king, who sent him back to Florence with presents of money, plate and antique sculpture, the last of which Giuliano presented to his patron Lorenzo. After Lorenzo's death in 1492, Giuliano visited Loreto, and built the dome of the Basilica of the Madonna, in spite of serious difficulties arising from its defective piers, which were already built. In order to gain strength by means of a strong cement, Giuliano built his dome with pozzolana brought from Rome. Soon after this, at the invitation of Pope Alexander VI, Giuliano went to Rome, and designed the fine panelled ceiling of Santa Maria Maggiore. He was also largely employed by Pope Julius II, both for fortification walls round the Castel Sant'Angelo, and also to build a palace adjoining the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, of which Julius had been titular cardinal. Giuliano was much disappointed that Bramante was preferred to himself as architect for the new Basilica of St. Peter, and this led to his returning to Florence, where he did much service as a military engineer and builder of fortresses during the war between Florence and Pisa. Soon after this Giuliano was recalled to Rome by Julius II, who had much need for his military talents both in Rome itself and also during his attack upon Bologna. For about eighteen months in 1514–1515 Giuliano acted as joint-architect to St. Peter's together with Raphael, but owing to age and ill-health he resigned this office about two years before his death.

Giuliano's work includes:


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  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

External links

  • Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman, exhibition catalog fully online as PDF from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains material on Giuliano da Sangallo (see index)
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