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Giuliano da Sangallo

Lorenzo's favourite architect

Portrait of da Sangallo by Piero di Cosimo

Born in Florence, Giuliano da Sangallo (1443–1516) was an architect whose architect-woodworker father Francesco Giamberti had worked for Cosimo de' Medici, giving him an important in with the right people; he later became the favourite architect of Cosimo's grandson, Lorenzo de’ Medici. He was often tripped up by an obsession, inherited from Leon Battista Alberti, with making architecture conform to philosophical principles.

He was also singularly unlucky in that a number of his buildings were never finished: his church of Santa Maria della Carceri in Prato and the Palazzo Gondi on Via de' Gondi in Florence. Others, like the church of San Gallo commissioned by Lorenzo outside the walls of Florence, was destroyed in the 1529 siege. Lorenzo had loved it so much that he began called the architect 'da Sangallo' instead of Giamberti, and the name stuck. His most beautiful work for Lorenzo, however, the Villa di Poggio a Caiano happily survives, as does his church Santa Maddalena dei Pazzi.

His architect brother Antonio da Sangallo (1453–1534) specialized in fortifications; his only work in Florence is the Fortezza da Basso, but he also built the pretty domed church of San Biagio at Montepulciano.

Renaissance Art & Architecture


Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Yorck Project