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Nicola and Giovanni Pisano in Florence, Pisa and Siena

Nicola and Giovanni Pisano are the sculptors who revolutionised the standards of Italian sculpture in the second half of the 13th century, managing to instil expressiveness into the Gothic figurative style with classical additions achieved by the study of the proportions of the human body. Their works inspired 14th century art and remained absolute masterpieces over time. 

Nicola was probably born in Puglia, training alongside Federico II, who tried to promote the assimilation of the splendour of ancient Rome into his empire through the recovery of classical art. 
In Tuscany, Nicola Pisano established himself around 1260, in works such as the pulpit of the Baptistery of Pisa, in which he not only demonstrates his skill, but he moves away from the quadrangular shapes of the past in favour of the hexagonal shape, depicting the Nativity, The Adoration of the Magi, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, the Crucifixion and the Last Judgment. In this way, Nicola Pisano proved that he was a complete artist undergoing great evolution. 

Interno del battistero di Pisa con il pulpito
Il pulpito di Nicola Pisano nel Battistero di Pisa

The pulpit of the Cathedral of Pisa was the work of his son Giovanni and is one of the works that best represents the narration of the religious fervour of the time.
In Santa Maria della Spina, the facade is refined by the elegant tabernacle sculpted by Giovanni Pisano with the statues of the Madonna and Child.
In the beautiful Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Pisa you will not only be able to see the Piazza dei Miracoli from high up above, but you will also be able to admire priceless treasures such as the Madonna Eburnea (Ivory Madonna) by Giovanni Pisano.

Santa Maria della Spina, dettaglio del tabernacolo in facciata
Santa Maria della Spina col tabernacolo di Giovanni Pisano

In 1265, the scenes depicted in the pulpit of the Cathedral of Siena, are more expressive in the gestures and faces and it was the first time that Nicola collaborated with his pupil Arnolfo di Cambio and his son Giovanni. He continued his father's expressive component but with new variations that gave his art great intensity.

Il pulpito del Duomo di Siena
Pulpito del Duomo di Siena

In Florence, we can admire the statue of Nicola Pisano, sculpted for the portico of the Uffizi gallery. At the Collegiate Museum of Sant'Andrea in Empoli, you can admire the beautiful Tondo della Vergine, located on the ground floor in the "Sculpture Room". The side portal of the Collegiate Church of San Quirico d’Orcia, a masterpiece of Romanesque art, is attributed to Giovanni Pisano, sculpted around 1288, when he was engaged in the construction of the Siena Cathedral. The inscription "Iohes" appears in the pinnacle of the portal in Gothic characters.

Collegiata di San Quirico d'Orcia, i portali laterali
I portali laterali della Collegiata di San Quirico d'Orcia

It is considered to be Pisano's signature and in memory of the devotion of the Collegiate Church to St John the Baptist. In his Vite (Lives), Vasari celebrates Nicola and Giovanni Pisano with a splendid dedication to their merit for having been innovators capable of giving life and humanity to the stories and figures sculpted.

  • Progetto finanziato a valere sui fondi Legge n. 77 del 20 febbraio 2006 “Misure speciali di tutela e fruizione dei siti italiani di interesse culturale, paesaggistico e ambientale, inseriti nella “lista del patrimonio mondiale”, posti sotto la tutela dell’UNESCO”