PISANO, Giovanni
(b. ca. 1250, Pisa, d. 1314, Pisa)

Exterior view of the Cathedral

1284-99
Photo
Duomo, Siena

The present cathedral replaced two earlier ones, one dating from the 9th or 10th century and a second that was consecrated in 1179. It was built during the first half of the 13th century and completed, with the exception of the façade, in the early 1270s in the early 1270s.

The lower half of the façade was designed by Giovanni Pisano. The façade turns decisively towards the Gothic in its decorative motifs and lavish use of large-scale figural sculpture. In contrast to Nicola, Giovanni's style is closer to the expressionistic Gothic of German sculpture than to the courtly style of France. The statues of prophets saints on the Siena façade twist and turn as if to declare their independence from the confines of their architectural setting, even though it was Giovanni himself who laid out the arches gables, and pinnacles that surround and enframe them.

Most of the sculptures are copies, the originals now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.