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Pisan Romanesque Art

Pisa, Lucca & Pistoia

 

This page provides an overview of the romanesque architecture and art originating from the Republic of Pisa in northern Tuscany. The original pisan romanesque style is characterized by its basilical churches with magnificent arcaded facades and important portal and pulpit sculpture. The style emerged in the 11th century, developed during the 12th century and transformed into gothic up to the 14th century. This page presents the famous romanesque cathedral complex of Pisa as well as the romanesque churches of the cities of Pisa, Lucca and Pistoia.

 

Introduction
Piazza dei Miracoli
Pisa churches
Lucca churches
Pistoia churches

 

Introduction

The importance of the pisan art style historically relates closely to the prosperity of the Republic of Pisa. This independent state was founded in the 10th century and grew during the 11th century to become a commercial and naval center dominating the Mediterranean. This mighty maritime nation, regularly competing with Genoa, captured Sardinia in 1016 and Corsica in 1051-52. The pope elevated the diocese of Pisa to the rank of metropolitan archdiocese in 1092. The Pisan fleet participated in the First Crusade and the siege of Jerusalem in 1099. Pisa then had several possessions and privileges across the Mediterranean and the Byzantine Empire, which brought back an oriental influence. Ultimately, the Republic of Pisa was destroyed in the Battle of Meloria against Genoa in 1284 and sold to Florence in 1402.
The pisan style, which lasted approximately from the mid 11th century to the 13th century, is an original romanesque style with oriental influences. PisaThe exteriors of the churches, in white marble, are extensively decorated with arcades on columns, polychrome and geometrical motifs. The decoration is concentrated on the apses and on the facades, which present several layers of arcades on columns creating magnificent visual effects as well as portals with lintel sculptures. High campaniles with several levels of openings are situated next to the churches. The interiors of the churches are sober, and the naves on columns are still very similar to the early medieval basilicas of Rome. Interior decoration is quite abundant and includes capitals, crucifixes, carved doors, mosaics, paintings and some important pulpits and baptismal fonts. The 13th century school of the Pisano brothers has left some very fines sculptures and famous pulpits.
The Piazza del Duomo or Piazza dei Miracoli, centre of the Pisa diocese situated in the north of the town, houses some of the worlds finest medieval monuments. Construction on the cathedral of Pisa, the archetype of the pisan school of art, began in 1063. The mighty construction, which lasted into the 12th century, was led by Buscheto and Rainaldo. The floor plan consists of five naves counting 10 bays, a large transept with cupola, aisles and apses, and a choir with apse. The elevation of the interior counts three levels with beautiful galleries and a wooden ceiling. Decoration includes the bronze gates by Bonnano Pisano and the apse mosaics by Cimabue. From 1153 onwards, Diotisalvi built the Battistero situated in front of the cathedral. This rotunda on two levels is an architectural masterpiece and houses important works of art. The pulpit is the work of Nicola Pisano and older than the one in the cathedral made by his son Giovanni, both decorated by abundant sculptures in gothic style. The famous leaning tower, a beautiful romanesque campanile on a circular floor plan, was started in 1173. Work on the complex continued until the 15th century, with the completion of the cathedral, the construction of the gothic Camposanto and the completion of many fine works of art. Two museums present art works originating from the cathedral complex.
The historical cities of Pisa, Lucca and Pistoia preserve a variety of churches that are great examples of the pisan school. The three main churches of Lucca, the Duomo, S. Frediano and S. Michele, present great facades, campaniles and sculptures. Some more beautiful facades can be found at S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno in Pisa and S. Maria Forisportam and S. Pietro Somaldi in Lucca. The Duomo and the main churches in Pistoia are columned basilicas with facades, carved lintels and some interesting pulpits. Some original works are the octogonal templar church of S. Sepolcro and the narthex of S. Zeno, both in Pisa, the basilica of S. Pietro a Grado, and the beautiful lateral wall of S. Giovanni Fuorcivitas in Pistoia. Development of the pisan style has left beautiful romano-gothic facades at S. Michele in Borgo and S. Caterina in Pisa. The old town of Lucca also has some beautiful medieval palaces and towers.
This page provides an overview of the monuments in Pisa, Lucca and Pistoia. The most important monuments are marked by a star . Some other examples of the pisan style in the region can be found in Massa Marittima, Prato, Peccioli, Cascina and Carrara. The romanesque churches of Corsica and Sardinia, which also belonged to the Republic of Pisa, also present a clear pisan influence.

 

 

Piazza dei Miracoli (Piazza del Duomo)

DUOMO S. MARIA ASSUNTA
Basilica (1063-12th-13th-14th), transept, mosaics (13th), pulpit (1302), doors (12th).

TORRE PENDENTE (CAMPANILE)
Campanile (1173-1350).

BATTISTERO S. GIOVANNI
Rotunda (1153-13th-14th), cupola, portals, pulpit (1260), font (1246).

CAMPOSANTO
Cloisters (1277-15th), sarcophagi, paintings (14th).

MUSEO OPERA DELL DUOMO & MUSEO DELLE SINOPIE
Sculptures (11th-14th), statues, paintings (13th-15th).

 

 

Pisa churches

S. PAOLO A RIPA D'ARNO (DUOMO VECCHIO)
Basilica (mid 12th), facade, capitals, S.Agatha chapel (11th).

S. SEPOLCRO
Rotunda (12th), pyramid, cupola, portals.

S. MICHELE IN BORGO
Basilica (12th-14th), facade, capitals.

S. SISTO
Basilica (11th-12th), facade, capitals.

S. ZENO
Basilica (11th-12th), narthex.

S. PIETRO IN VINCULIS (SAN PIERINO)
Basilica (11th-12th), facade, capitals.

S. MICHELE DEGLI SCALZI
Basilica (12th), facade, capitals, crucifix (13th).

S. NICOLA
Facade (12th), campanile.

S. FREDIANO
Basilica (11th), facade, capitals, crucifix (12th).

S. MATTEO (MUSEO NAZIONALE)
Nave (11th-13th), sculptures, paintings.

S. PAOLO ALL'ORTO
Facade (12th), portals.

S. ANDREA FORISPORTAM
Basilica (12th), facade, capitals.

S. CATERINA (D'ALESSANDRIA)
Facade (13th-14th), campanile, statues.

S. PIETRO A GRADO (S. PIETRO APOSTOLO)
Basilica (10th-12th), apses, campanile, capitals, paintings (13th-14th).

MORE CHURCHES : S. CECILIA, S. MICHELE ARCANGELO, S. EUFRASIA, SS. JACOPO E FILIPPO, S. CRISTINA
Romanesque elements.

 

Lucca churches

DUOMO S. MARTINO
Basilica (1060-12th-15th), transept, facade, portals, campanile, apse, statues, crucifix (12th).

S. FREDIANO
Basilica (1112-12th-13th), facade, portal, mosaic (13th), campanile, apse, capitals, font (12th), floor (12th), paintings (13th).

S. MICHELE IN FORO
Basilica (1143-12th), transept, facade, statues, capitals, campanile, apse, crucifix (12th).

S. MARIA FORISPORTAM (S. MARIA BIANCA)
Basilica (12th), transept, facade, portals, campanile, apse.

SS. GIOVANNI E REPARATA
Basilica (12th), transept, portal, crypt (5th-6th), battistero (14th).

S. PIETRO SOMALDI
Basilica (12th), facade, portals (13th), campanile (14th).

S. GIUSTO
Facade (12th-13th), portal, apse.

S. CRISTOFORO
Basilica (12th-13th), facade, portal, tower, fresco (13th).

S. ALESSANDRO
Basilica (11th), facade, portal, capitals.

S. SALVATORE
Facade (12th), portals, walls.

S. MARIA CORTEORLANDINI (S. MARIA NERA)
Portal (12th), walls, apse.

SS. SIMONE E GIUDA
Basilica (13th), facade, apse.

S. GIULIA
Facade (13th).

S. ANASTASIO
Facade (13th), portal (12th-13th), nave, apse.

MORE CHURCHES : S. MICHELETTO, S. TOMMASO, S. PONZIANO, S. ANDREA
Romanesque elements.

CIVIL ARCHITECTURE
Palaces, towers, gates (12th-14th).

MUSEO NAZIONALE DI VILLA GUINIGI
Sculptures (12th), capitals, statues, crucifixes (12th-13th).

 

Pistoia churches

DUOMO S. ZENO
Basilica (12th-13th), facade, portals, narthex (14th), campanile, capitals, crypt, crucifix (13th), altar (13th) ; Battistero (14th).

S. ANDREA
Basilica (12th), facade, portal, capitals, pulpit (1298).

S. BARTOLOMEO IN PANTANO
Basilica (12th), facade, portal, apse, campanile (13th), pulpit (13th).

S. GIOVANNI FUORCIVITAS
Walls (12th), portal, pulpit (12th-13th), crucifix.

S. PIER MAGGIORE
Facade (12th), portals, walls.

S. MICHELE IN CIONCIO
Chapel (12th-13th), facade, portal, apse.

S. PAOLO
Facade (13th), portal, walls (12th).

S. SALVATORE
Facade (13th).

S. MARIA A RIPALTA
Chapel (12th), apse, fresco (13th).

S. MARIA CAVALIERA (S. MARIA MAGGIORE)
Walls (13th), apse.

S. BIAGIO
Facade, portal.

 

 

Web links

Pisan Romanesque Art
http://www.itineraromanica.eu/
http://www.stilepisano.it/
http://www.medioevo.org/artemedievale/Pages/Toscana/Toscana.html
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanico_pisano
http://www.hvweb.net/en/360photos/tuscany/
Piazza dei Miracoli
http://www.opapisa.it/
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/pisa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazza_dei_Miracoli
Pisa churches
http://www.medioevo.org/artemedievale/Pages/Toscana/Pisa.html
http://www.stilepisano.it/Pisa_facciate_chiese.htm
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiese_di_Pisa
Lucca churches
http://www.medioevo.org/artemedievale/Pages/Toscana/Lucca.html
http://www.comune.lucca.it/turismo/chiese_lucca
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/lucca
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiese_di_Lucca
Pistoia churches
http://www.medioevo.org/artemedievale/Pages/Toscana/Pistoia.html
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiese_di_Pistoia

 

Pictures: Eduard, 2008. For any comments or additions feel free to contact me.

 

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