PISANO, Italian family of sculptors and architects

Originally from Apulia, Nicola Pisano settled in Pisa in the mid-13th century and from there undertook commissions in the major artistic centres of Tuscany, as well as in Bologna and Perugia. His work, which combined Classical and Byzantine-Islamic traditions with Romanesque and Gothic, formed a bridge between the Mediterranean and northern Europe, bringing Tuscany into the heart of European artistic culture. He recaptured the sense of dignity of late Roman sculpture, with its realistic spatial effects, and revitalized it in the service of Christian narrative. His style continued to have an important influence on architecture, sculpture, painting and metalwork for several generations, and was spread by his school, which included Arnolfo di Cambio, to Florence, Orvieto, Rome and Naples. Nicola's son Giovanni Pisano was also active in Tuscany. He created a highly expressive and dramatic style, in which Nicola's classicism was transformed by a more profound assimilation of Gothic art.