Giovanni Pisano. Pulpit of Pisa Cathedral, detail. Photograph, 2015.

Seminars, Schools and Summer Series

Early Italian Art (1250-1400): Pisa and the renewal of Italian painting and sculpture

  • Monday 17 June 2019
  • Sarah Fell Room, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
  • Lecturer: Dr John Renner

During the summer of 2019 we are offering a series of linked but separate study days on Early Italian Art from 1250 to 1400. Each day can be booked individually. We also intend to include some small group visits to the V&A and the National Gallery. These will be organised separately and subject to demand.

This series will examine the revolutionary developments in Italian art from around 1250 to the end of the fourteenth century. It will explore how the cities of central Italy, at that time among the richest and most dynamic in all Europe, provided the nurturing environment in which the arts could flourish.

Programme for Day 2

Italian Art 1250–1400: Pisa and the renewal of Italian painting and sculpture

Pisa was one of the great maritime powers of medieval Italy, with possessions and trading routes across the Mediterranean, until its eventual eclipse by Genoa and Venice at sea, and by Florence on land. Its wealth placed it in the forefront of developments in the arts.

We will consider the works and influence of Giunta Pisano, the leading painter in Italy by the mid-thirteenth century and one of very few, among a host of anonymous masters, whose name is known to us. He was instrumental in introducing the style and imagery of Byzantine icons into Italian art – features which would remain dominant until the advent of Giotto. Pisan masters like Nicola and Giovanni Pisano were supreme in the medium of sculpture. We will  examine their work and influence on sculptors such as Arnolfo di Cambio and Andrea Pisano.


  1. Looking to Byzantium: Giunta Pisano and Italian painting in the thirteenth century
  2. Nicola Pisano and the rediscovery of antique sculpture
  3. Giovanni Pisano and the living figure
  4. Italian sculpture in the Trecento

Future days (booking will open at the beginning of May):

  • Assisi and the illusion of reality                                     11th July 2019
  • Siena: the city of the Virgin                                             23rd July 2019
  • Florence, Giotto and the roots of the Renaissance    7th August 2019



Dr John Renner is a specialist in late-medieval Italian art, with a PhD from The Courtauld. He lectures at The Courtauld, the V&A and elsewhere, while researching and publishing on the art of the mendicant orders. He has given two previous courses for the London Art History Society.

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