A & A spacer courtauld institute of art
quick search advanced search browse temp folder

Statuette (Front)

Statuette (Front)
enlarge image zoom image


Repository Institution

To purchase an image

Pisa, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo



Height: 555mm
Width: 150mm
Depth: 165mm

Standing Virgin and Child; Christ in long robe; Christ seated on left arm; Christ holding an orb and cross in his right hand; Christ with legs crossed; crown.

Koechlin Number: 0113A

Natanson 1951: Italian, by Giovanni Pisano, c. 1299.
Gaborit-Chopin 1978: Italian, by Giovanni Pisano, c. 1299.

Giovanni Pisano:b. before 1250, d. after 1317:carver:

Carved in the round. Inscription in cursive Gothic script on the Virgin's back: 'Giovanni'.

Object Condition
Missing: stem or object the Virgin once held in her right hand.
Repair to the Virgin's right hand. The head, the right arm and the left foot of Christ are later replacements made in 1634 by G. B. Riminaldi. The orb and cross are also a later replacement. The base of the statuette and the back of the Virgin's veil show several repairs.

Made by Giovanni Pisano, c. 1299, for the chapter of Pisa Cathedral; documentary evidence: in 1299, he committed to completing 'opus eburneum quod incipit; et factum, et completum et perfectum erit in proximo paschate nativitatis Domini in eo silicet quod ad eum spectat, videlicet in sculpendo ymagines et levigando et omnia alia facendo que ad artem aculture et levigationis eboris pertinent.' (quoted in S. Ciampi, Notizie inedite della Sagrestia pistoese de' belli arredi del Campo Santo Pisano... (Florence 1810, p. 123, Documento III). In the 1369 and 1433 inventories the statuette is described as part of a gilded wood retable: the statuette was flanked by two ivory angels with metal wings holding candlesticks and it was accompanied by two reliefs of the Passion of Christ carved in ivory. The tabernacle was damaged in the fire of the 1595 and it therefore was dismounted; the two angels still existed in 1634, but have disappeared today. The statuette, possibly after the fire, was kept in a cabinet in the sacristy of the cathedral and was not accessible to the public. It was also kept for a short period in the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo in Pisa.

J. O. Westwood, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Fictile Ivories in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1876), Appendix, p. 378.
M. Reymond, La Sculpture florentine (Florence, 1897), I, p. 99 (see p. 93).
A. Venturi, Storia dell'Arte Italiana, 11 vols (Milan, 1901-1939), IV, fig. 144.
L. Justi, 'Giovanni Pisano', in Jahrbuch der königlich preussischen Kunstsammlungen (1903), p. 264.
I. B. Supino, Arte Pisana (Florence, 1904), p. 137.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 108, 114, 253; III, pl. XXII, no. 113A.
J. Natanson, Gothic Ivories of the 13th and 14th Centuries (London, 1951), p. 34, fig. 23.
Trésors d'art du moyen âge en Italie, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Petit-Palais, May-July 1952, no. 182, pl. 54.
C. L. Ragghianti, 'La Madonna eburnea di Giovanni Pisano', in Critica d'Arte (1954), pp. 385-396.
R. Barsotti, 'Nuovi Studi sulla Madonna eburnea di Giovanni Pisano', in Critica d' Arte, XIX (1957), pp. 47-55.
L'Europe gothique, XIIe-XIVe siècle, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 1968, no. 356.
M. Ayrton, Giovanni Pisano: sculptor (New York, 1969), pp. 218-219.
M. Seidel, 'Die Elfenbeinmadonna im Domschatz zu Pisa', in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institut in Florenz, 16 (1972), pp. 1-50.
D. Gaborit-Chopin, Ivoires du Moyen Age (Freiburg, 1978), no. and fig. 248, 249.
Il Museo dell'Opera del Duomo a Pisa, ed. by G. De Angelis d'Ossat (Cinisiello Balsamo, 1986), pp. 86-87.
G. Lucchesi, Il Museo dell'Opera del Duomo di Pisa (Pisa, 1993), pp. 60-22, no. 10.
J. Tripps, 'Giovanni Pisano e l'influsso francese sulla scultura in Italia', in Il Gotico europeo in Italia (Naples, 1994), pp. 141-152 (figs. 9, 11).
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014), in relation to no. 26.


© Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Pisa.

All images on this website are made available exclusively for scholarly and educational purposes and may not be used commercially.

spacer spacer spacer spacer
Please remember to acknowledge any use of the site in publications and lectures as: 'Gothic Ivories Project at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, www.gothicivories.courtauld.ac.uk', followed by the date you accessed the site.