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S. Maria della Spina, Giovanni Pisano and Lupo di Francesco

Joseph Polzer
Artibus et Historiae
Vol. 26, No. 51 (2005), pp. 9-36
Published by: IRSA s.c.
DOI: 10.2307/1483773
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1483773
Page Count: 28
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S. Maria della Spina, Giovanni Pisano and Lupo di Francesco
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Abstract

The oratory of S. Maria della Spina, Pisa's most elaborate Gothic structure, was thoroughly rebuilt starting around the middle of the third decade of the Trecento. The dramatic sculptures of Christ and the Apostles on the oratory's southern exterior, and of the Virgin and Child on the western facade, are closely connected in style to the work of Giovanni Pisano who left Pisa in 1314 and died shortly after. Modern scholarship has assumed that these sculptures were produced in conjunction with the restoration of the oratory they decorated. Accordingly two possibilities emerged: One, that they were by Giovanni Pisano, in which case the oratory's documented restoration of the thirteen-twenties would have been minor; or two, that they were not by the master but belonged to his close following. This study proposes that these sculptures, by Giovanni Pisano, would have been re-used from some other structure, the earlier oratory not excluded. Supporting evidence is found in a survey of the principal sculptural projects produced by Pisan masters in Pisa, Genoa and Barcelona during the third and fourth decades who hardly matched Giovanni in artistic ability and dramatic concept. Recently uncovered evidence reinforces the identification of the principal Pisan sculptor then active as Lupo di Francesco. The exterior architectural decorative vocabulary of the oratory matches that of the tabernacle above the eastern entrance to the Pisan Campo Santo which belongs roughly around the early thirties.

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