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Giovanni Pisano

Born: c. 1250
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: c. 1314
Location of death: Siena, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Sculptor, Architect

Nationality: Italy
Executive summary: Gothic Italian sculptor

Italian architect and sculptor, the son of Nicola Pisano. Together with Arnolfo del Cambio and other pupils, he developed and extended into other parts of Italy the renaissance of sculpture which in the main was clue to his father's talent. After he had spent the first part of his life at home as a pupil and fellow worker of Nicola, the younger Pisano was summoned between 1270 and 1274 to Naples, where he worked for Charles of Anjou on the Castel Nuovo. One of his earliest independent performances was the Campo Santo at Pisa, finished about 1283; along with this he executed various pieces of sculpture over the main door and inside the cloister. The richest in design of all his works (finished about 1286) is in the cathedral of Arezzo -- a magnificent marble high altar and reredos, adorned both in front and at the back with countless figures and reliefs -- mostly illustrative of the lives of St. Gregory and St. Donato, whose bones are enshrined there. The actual execution of this was probably wholly the work of his pupils. In 1290 Giovanni was appointed architect or "capo maestro" of the new cathedral at Siena, in which office he succeeded Lorenzo Maitani, who went to Orvieto to build the less ambitious but equally magnificent duomo which had just been founded there. The design of the gorgeous fašade of that duomo has been attributed to him, but it is more probable that he only carried out Maitani's design. At Perugia, Giovanni built the church of S. Domenico in 1304, but little of the original structure remains. The north transept, however, still contains his beautiful tomb of Pope Benedict XI, with a sleeping figure of the pope, guarded by angels who draw aside the curtain. One of Giovanni's most beautiful architectural works was the little chapel of S. Maria della Spina (now rebuilt, "restored"), on the banks of the Arno in Pisa; the actual execution of this chapel, and the sculpture with which it is adorned, was mostly the work of his pupils. The influence of his father Nicola is seen strongly in all Giovanni's works, but especially in the pulpit of S. Andrea at Pistoia, executed about 1300. Another pulpit, designed on the same lines, was made by him for the nave of Pisa Cathedral between 1310 and 1311. The last part of Giovanni's life was spent at Prato, near Florence, where with many pupils he worked at the cathedral until his death about 1330.

Father: Nicola Pisano (sculptor)


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