Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pisano - Pulpit

Artist's Name: Nicola Pisano
Piece Name: Pulpit of Pisa Cathedral baptistery
Date: 1260
Period: Early Renaissance
Material: Marble
Purpose: For use during sermons, Pisa Cathedral

The pulpit commissioned for the Pisa Cathedral baptistery is impressive for its meshing of styles and influences, specifically French Gothic and Roman Classical. The 13th-century sculpture by Nicola Pisano shows an unmistakable interest in Classical art. The lower portion of the pulpit is made up of Roman-style Corinthian columns. On the center register rest the figures of Prophets and Evangelists separated by Gothic trefoil arches. In the spandrels of the arches are Saints John the Baptist and Michael, the Virtues, and a nude Hercules, probably a reference to the Classical inspiration for the work. The upper register consists of five relief panels depicting scenes from the life of Christ, all done in the style of Roman sculpture. The figures wear clothing typical of Roman fashions.

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