Giovanni Pisano and the Pulpit of Pisa’s Cathedral
The Pulpit in Pisa’s Cathedral is one of the most iconographically dense works of art in the history of art in Italy.
Giovanni Pisano, who sculpted it between 1301 and 1310 “arte manus sole” (that is, by himself), crowded it with figures from the Old and New Testament, to the point that every structural or ancillary element seems to have the sole purpose of featuring more characters.
Pisano represented the whole theme of salvation – from the Annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist to Judgment Day; there are Jesus Christ, Mary, the Prophets, the Apostles, the Evangelists, Michael the Archangel, Hercules… and even the Sibyls, announcing the coming of Jesus Christ to the pagans, the theological and cardinal Virtues, and allegorical representations of Philosophy and the seven Liberal Arts.
Finally, between two of the Evangelists – Luke and Matthew – the author of this outstanding masterpiece of Gothic art included a self-portrait.