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Nicola and Giovanni Pisano

Father and Son

The father and son team of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano are among the most important sculptors of the thirteenth-century Italian Gothic, and their work—especially the ornately carved pulpits in Italy’s Pisa and Siena Cathedrals—continues to inspire wonder and awe. Never before—nor since—have a father and son met on an artistic level in quite this way, and this two-volume set goes beyond a typical biography to explore this fascinating collaboration.
Drawing on extensive new archival research, Max Seidel offers a broad examination of both artists’ styles, paying particular attention to the emergence of Giovanni Pisano’s practice under his father’s guidance and the social and iconographic aspects of both artists’ work. The Pisanos’ sculptures in France and Rome are of paramount importance to the development of their styles and Seidel therefore treats them in considerable depth. The second volume comprises five hundred newly-published illustrations, making this a truly comprehensive overview of these two masters of European sculpture.

989 pages | 2 volume set, 500 halftones | 9 x 11 1/2 | © 2012

Art: Art--General Studies

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“In this monumental work, Seidel brings together his lifelong engagement with two of the most impressive Italian sculptors of the Middle Ages, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. Never before—nor since—have a father and son met on an artistic level in quite this way, and this two-volume set goes beyond a typical biography to explore their fascinating collaboration.”


“This massive and lavishly illustrated book is oriented around the clarification of a single problem: the artistic relationship of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. . . . Father and Son brings together in one place many insights from [Seidel’s] wide-ranging research. As such, it will be invaluable to every student of the field.”

Sculpture Journal

Table of Contents

Volume 1
Critical fortune

    The gigantic contrast between father and son
    More a genius than his father
    The new Daedalus
    The learned scholar in art
    Precursor of the art of the Renaissance
    Historical curiosities
    “If Nicola’s Mary really resembled a Juno and his Christ a Hercules, what would have been new in that?”
    “From the pulpit of Siena the word of the new art is proclaimed”
    The pulpit of Siena—A work by Giovanni?
Research perspectives
    The dialogue with the masters of antiquity
    Aspects of social history
The study of social history
    Documents concerning the pulpit of Siena
    The payments
    Rhythms of work
    The total earnings of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano
    Giovanni as “caput magistrorum” of the Opera del Duomo of Pisa
    Giovanni attempts to equal his father’s work rhythm
    Giovanni renounces a more comfortable dwelling
    Documents concerning Giovanni Pisano’s activity as "caput magistrorum" of the Opera del Duomo of Pisa
    Documentary appendix
The artist as iconographer
    Artes liberales
    Testimonia ex prophetis et gentibus
    Vide lignum viride
    “Uno polpito alto e mangnio”
The dialogue
    Nicola and Giovanni Pisano
    Arnolfo di Cambio
    “Gothic counterrevolution?
    The reception of the antique in thirteenth-century aesthetics
    Art criticism ‘with brush and chisel’: how painters, sculptors and goldsmiths in the thirteenth and
    fourteenth century received the art of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano

Volume 2: The Plates
The dialogue between Nicola and Giovanni Pisano
Arnolfo di Cambio
Gothic counterrevolution?
The reception of the antique

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