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


c. 1280
Duomo, Siena

The picture shows the figure of Plato from the west façade of Siena Cathedral.

Giovanni Pisano did not share his father's taste for decorative grace. In fact, Giovanni appears to have reacted against this, and Tuscan sculpture entered a stylistic phase which was anything but graceful, finished and delicate.

Giovanni's first major independent work was the façade of Siena Cathedral. He never completed this above the line of the gables over the doors. This lower part luckily preserves its original decoration, and here the first time one finds an Italian mason incorporating a major amount of large-scale figure sculpture into a façade design. This idea can only have come from France, however, the figures are not in the embrasures of the portals but up above between the gables. It is no at all clear what prompted this idea. For Giovanni's figure style one can find parallels north of the Alps; not in France, but in the more emotionally conceived sculpture in the Empire (e.g. Strasbourg).