Sculptural Reliefs on the Campanile

Andrea Pisano and Workshop
begun about 1336



Twenty-one hexagonal marble reliefs were designed for the lowest story of the Campanile. Although there is no documentation that the works can be attributed to Andrea Pisano, most scholars today believe that he was involved in the designs as well as being directly responsible for several of the reliefs. Further evidence is seen in the stylistic parallels between these reliefs and those he designed for the Florence Baptistry.

L'agricoltura

The west side of the Campanile has three reliefs depicting scenes from Genesis. Other panels are similar to relief sculpture in the medieval period depicting the Labors of the Months. (See, for example, the north portal of the west front of Chartres Cathedral.)
 

La pastorizia

Many of the panels celebrate "the diversity of human creative endeavor and productivity . . . . The tasks, some mental and some physical, are meant to suggest the entire range of activity that made Florence the thriving, unrivaled city it was in the 1330s" (Andres 174-5).
 

L'arte del fabbro

Blacksmithing seems to be depicted with anvil and tongs and other instruments prominently displayed.
 

L'architettura

This relief glorifies the work of the architect, who in using a compass, is similar to the manuscript version of God as an architect creating the world with a compass. (See, for example, this 13th century manuscript.)
 

L'arte di construire

Here is another version of architecture, although this may be closer to masonry than architecture proper. Some of the labors depicted here depart from the medieval catalog in that the work seems more urban.


Work Cited: Glenn Andres et al. The Art of Florence. Vol.1. New York: Abbeville Press, 1988.

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