Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    Pisa (original, sculpted)
    London (cast)

  • Date:

    1260 (sculpted)
    ca. 1864 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pisano, Nicola (sculptor)
    Giovanni Franchi and Son (cast-maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1864-83

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court , case FS, shelf NE

This is a plaster cast of the original marble pulpit made by Nicola Pisano in 1260 for the Baptistry in Pisa. The cast is made by Messrs Franchi & Son, London, in 1864.
Nicola Pisano (ca.1220-25 - before 1284) was a sculptor and architect of the thirteenth century working in Apulia, Pisa and Siena. His first great work was this hexagonal marble pulpit decorated with scenes from the life of Christ. The figure style of these reliefs was deeply influenced by classical art and brought a new realism to Italian sculpture. His last great work of sculpture was the fountain in the Piazza opposite the west end of the Cathedral at Perugia, completed in 1278. Pisano is regarded as an important precursor of Italian Renaissance sculpture because of his pioneering understanding and use of antique prototypes.

Physical description

Between the lower and upper section of the pulpit is an archivolt formed of trilobe arches with pierced cusps; in the spandrels, reliefs of the Prophets and the Evangelists. At the corners: Charity, Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence, St John the Baptist, and Faith. Upper Section: The Annunciation, Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, The Crucifixion, The Last Judgement.

Place of Origin

Pisa (original, sculpted)
London (cast)

Date

1260 (sculpted)
ca. 1864 (cast)

Artist/maker

Pisano, Nicola (sculptor)
Giovanni Franchi and Son (cast-maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast

Marks and inscriptions

'ANNO MILLENO BIS CENTUM BISQUE TRICENO HOC OPUS INSINGNE SCULPSIT NICOLA PISANUS LAUDETUR DINGNE TAM BENE DOCTA MANUS'
'In the year 1260, Nicola Pisano carved this noble work. May so greatly gifted a hand be praised as it deserves'
Beneath the relief of the Last Judgement

Dimensions

Height: 415 cm, Width: 371 cm base, Depth: 259.5 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Messrs Franchi & Son in 1864 for £116 13s 4d.

Historical context note

Inscribed beneath the relief of the Last Judgement: ANNO MILLENO BIS CENTUM BISQUE TRICENO HOC OPUS INSINGNE SCULPSIT NICOLA PISANUS LAUDETUR DINGNE TAM BENE DOCTA MANUS (In the year 1260, Nicola Pisano carved this noble work. May so greatly gifted a hand be praised as it deserves). Between the lower and upper section of the pulpit is an archivolt formed of trilobe arches with pierced cusps; in the spandrels, reliefs of the Prophets and the Evangelists. At the corners: Charity, Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence, St John the Baptist, and Faith. Upper Section: The Annunciation, Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, The Crucifixion, The Last Judgement.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast, painted plaster, after the marble pulpit from The Baptistry, Pisa, by Nicola Pisano, Pisa, dated 1260. Cast by Giovanni Franchi and Son, London, in 1864.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Weinberger: M, ‘Nicola Pisano and the Tradition of Tuscan Pulpits’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th ser., lv (1960), pp. 129–46

Labels and date

This cast reproduces a richly carved pulpit, the most celebrated work of Nicola Pisano. Like some of the other casts on display, it does not reproduce the colour of the original. Pisano's pulpit has green and red marble for the columns and naturalistic colour in the carved scenes of the life of Christ. Pisano was an important forerunner of Italian Renaissance sculpture because of his pioneering use of classical themes, for which the pulpit was especially admired. [2014]

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Personification; Pulpits; Prophets; Saints

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.