Giovanni Pisano, Pisa Pulpit

Jules Lubbock – Pisa Pulpit: ‘Judge by the correct law!’ from HENI Talks on YouTube.

It is now over seven hundred years since the Italian Gothic sculptor Giovanni Pisano set chisel to stone. Though long regarded as his masterpiece, the Pisa Pulpit fell out of favour in the 20th century.

The rise of photography had given a new generation of historians outside of Italy access to the work, but photos failed to convey the pulpit’s complexity. Basing their opinions on two-dimensional reproductions, critics thought the carvings to be distorted and the narrative scenes grossly cluttered.

Art Historian Jules Lubbock examines a plaster cast of the pulpit in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collections and argues that it was the critics who were ill-judged. As an inscription on the pulpit implores: ‘You who marvel, judge by the correct law!’

Cite this page as: HENI Talks, "Giovanni Pisano, Pisa Pulpit," in Smarthistory, June 17, 2018, accessed April 18, 2024,