Pisano’s nativities: Pisa Cathedral

Created for the Pisa Cathedral by the Pisano’s, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The pulpit is a great study to contrast between two different immuring art styles in the early 14th century Italian generations. Nicola studied on Roman informs with Capital (Roman style columns) and the use of relief (craving negative space to the Marble so that the figures will ‘pop’ out of the Nativity) to create a pulpit in a Roman Sarcophagi theme. After Nicola’s death, his son, Giovanni continued the pulpit. However, he choose a different emphasis than what his father did with his Roman-Byzantine model. Giovanni dwells on using a more deeper details in relief to depict the Nativity rather than create bulging figure as the Roman style of his father. Along with his knowledge in contemporary French Gothic style art, he forms the figures to neatly fit in the Nativity with good flow by giving the figures movement with the landscape. Also his relief is deeper in detail so the shadows are more seen than Nicola’s work to create perspective.

Pulpit of Pisa Cathedral
Giovanni Pisano, Nativity, detail of pulpit, 1302-10, marble, Pisa Cathedral, proto-Renaissance style with French Gothic influence