Putrid Pisa pulpit?

Iconia notes a post by the Cranky Professor, who derides a recent addition to the cathedral at Pisa.


I might have to agree with him. As a piece of furniture in a gorgeous medieval cathedral, this work is very strange. I’m all for contrast — in fact contrast is a necessary and sometimes underutilized aspect of the visual environment — but there seems to be very little visual communication between this modern pulpit and, well, anything else in the church!

The green foliage atop the structure seems quite out of place, and in fact looks like a ceramic glaze applied to this marble sculpture. The space between the figures and the background is akward, mostly on account of the background’s lack of modeling. It’s very curious to me why the artist didn’t three-dimensionally render the tree’s trunk and limbs.

However, I like the figures. In and of themselves they are beautiful pieces of sculpture, a combination of tranquil minimalism in the bodies and passive authority in their countenances. Were these figures detached from the mish-mash behind them I would appreciate the work.

As a whole, though, it is unsuccessful.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

4 Responses to Putrid Pisa pulpit?

  1. Tim J. says:

    Oh, my.


    I can understand tension, informal composition… but this is just awkward, both in the internal harmony of the piece (between the individual elements) and in relation to its environment. I think the bit that appears to be melting over the step and onto the floor is meant to be inspired, but it’s just obtuse. What overriding force of symbolism or visual balance gave rise to THAT?

  2. TAE says:

    I try, in my mind anyway, to focus on works that I like. This doesn’t always happen though, and as artists we always need to be ready and able to take constructive criticism ;-} And when I review openings, everything’s up for grabs anyway!

    This one was just too good to pass up.

  3. Remember, there’s going to be a fourth figure behind them – the preacher!! Yikes!

    –the Cranky Professor

  4. Pingback: Semi-accidental Stumbled-upons : the way you worship is the way you live

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