Other Examples of the Beginning of Civic Sculpture

I've decided to concentrate in class on four of the sites listed for Lecture No. 7:

  1. Nicola Pisano and others, Fontana Maggiore, Perugia, 1278;
  2. The Loggia of the Bigallo, Florence, 1360s;
  3. Jacopo della Quercia, Fonte Gaia, Siena, 1414-1415; and
  4. Donatello's Dovizia in Florence; 1421-1431. No photos available; remember, it's gone.

Here, I've decided to list the others, with such illustrative material as I can find, FYI. (That means that they won't be on the exams.)

Madonna Verona

This is a fountain put built in the Piazza dell'Erbe, Verona, to mark the completion of the reconnection of the old Roman water pipes to provide fresh water into this important center of town. The Piazza dell'Erbe (so-called because it is the location of the most important outdoor food market in the city) stands on the spot of the old Roman stadium.

The fountain was built under the direction of Cangrande della Scala in 1368. The statue is Roman.

Genoa: Overdoor Sculptures

Genoa, until the overthrow of the centuries-old government in 1528, was one of the most unstable and faction-ridden cities in Italy. The city was divided up into what were basically miniature feudal territories, each belonging to a family, who claimed allegiance to one of the many parties of the city. The city was so factionalized that a visiting dignitary would have to ask permission to enter not just the city itself (a common practice everywhere in Italy), but would also have to get written permission from the ruler of each section of the city he wished to visit.

Not surprisingly, palaces tended to be placed behind high walls or at least plain walls; the sacking of individual palaces belonging to those who happened to be on the wrong side during any of the many uprisings or overthrows in Genoa were sufficiently common that no one wished to advertise his family's wealth. Little sculpture from pre-1550 Genoa has survived. The most numerous examples are the sculpted doorways with their overdoor reliefs, depicting most often the family's coat of arms, and either St. George or Christ. These are often visual markers of the territory of an individual family. Many of these reliefs are still in place in the city, often on buildings whose deteriorated state makes them the last evidence of the old Genoa.

More to Come!

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