Nicola Pisano and the Pisa Pulpit

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  • Topic: Sculpture, Nicola Pisano, Pisa
  • Pages : 4 (1398 words )
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  • Published : June 22, 2008
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In the Thirteenth Century, Italy was beginning to flourish with art preceding the Renaissance. Gothic styled cathedrals dominated the Italian City-states, and more and more artists were being commissioned to fill the cathedrals with their works. One of the most influential sculptors of this time was Nicola Pisano and his most famous work; the Pulpit of the Pisa Baptistery. It was Nicola Pisano’s innovative style that began a unique style that was to become well known throughout the rest of Italy durring the Renaissance.

Born around 1220 A.D. in Apulia, Italy; Nicola Pisano was most likely trained in the work shops of the Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II. (Kleiner 538) It was Fredrick’s love of Classical Roman sculpture that influenced Nicola’s style and technique. Later Nicola settled in Pisa and began his work on the Pulpit for the Pisa Baptistery in 1255. He incorporated his knowledge of the Classical Roman style of sculpture with the Gothic style of the current times. It was this innovative combination the fostered what some say is the precedent for modern sculpture. (Greenhalgh) The pulpit in the Baptistery in Pisa is a hexagonal casket that rests on seven columns; one central column with six surrounding. Three of the outlying columns rest on the backs of sculpted lions with animals between their paws. The central column rests on a pedestal surrounded by various animals and humans. Five of the columns are made of dark green granite while the other two are formed from a red breccia marble. Every column is attached between rounded trilobate arches with inlays of black marble. Each spandrel is decorated with prophets and evangelists in relief with ornate cornices below. Above each column, dividing the arches are sculptures of St. John the Baptist, St. Michael, Hercules, and the Virtues. The hexagonal shape of the pulpit was an innovation in Tuscany and was based on a broad range of sources as its design reflects a long series of formal...
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