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Life of LEONARDO SORMANI


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  Italian sculptor and restorer. While earlier sources incorrectly state that he was from Sarzana, more recent documentation accurately cites his birthplace as Savona. The biographical information pertaining to Sormani remains incomplete, but it is suggested that he worked as an apprentice in his father s workshop in Carrara after spending his early childhood in Savona. Sormani worked in Rome from 1551 until his death, remaining there except for a brief return visit to Carrara in 1561-62, possibly concerning the death of his father.
  In addition to minor restoration and sculptural work in Rome during the earlier years of his career, Sormani is credited with an extensive amount of sculpture in the basilica of S Maria Maggiore, Rome. In 1574 Cardinal Felice Peretti (later Pope Sixtus V) commissioned a tomb for Pope Nicholas IV in S Maria Maggiore from his architect Domenico Fontana. Fontana designed the structure of the tomb itself, and Sormani completed the marble sculptures that stand within its three rectangular niches. Sormani executed for the central, more prominent niche a seated statue of Pope Nicholas IV, wearing the traditional papal tiara and cope and gesturing with his right hand. The sculpture of the Pope is flanked by the allegorical figures of Religion on the left and Justice on the right. The tomb was originally placed on the left side of the high altar but was moved to the left of the main entrance in 1746, when Pope Benedict XIV refurbished the basilica, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, for the Holy Year of 1750.
  
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Tomb of Nicholas IV
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Statue of St Peter on the Column of Trajan
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