PISANO, Andrea
(b. ca. 1290, Pontedera, d. ca. 1348, Orvieto)

Relief from the west side of the Campanile: 6. Tubalcain (lower register)

Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence

This relief is one of the seven 'discoverers of the crafts' in the lower register of the socle of the Campanile, of which four are on the west side.

Tubalcain is mentioned in the Bible, in Genesis 4:22, as the first blacksmith. He is stated as the "forger of all instruments of bronze and iron". A descendant of Cain, he was the son of Lamech and Zillah. Tubalcain was the brother of Naamah and half-brother of Jabal and Jubal.

The relief represents a smithy scene with a man clothed in a long garment with a leather apron covering his lap to protect him from sparks. With a pair of tongs he holds the piece he is working on over the forge, which is fanned by the bellows behind him. Although the scene is contemporary, the man does not have the appearance of a contemporary smith. His hair and beard, influenced by models from antiquity, are in effect identifying attributes that place him in the dim past of ancient Greek or biblical myths of humanity's beginnings. He is Tubal Cain, the biblical metalworker descended from Cain to whom was attributed the invention of metalworker's craft.

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