Pillar

ca. 1315 (made)

Tino di camaino

Height: 116.2 cm, Diameter: 28 cm

74-1882 SCP

Marble column carved with spiral bands of acanthus foliage

Marble column carved with spiral bands of acanthus foliage in which naked boys are playing.

This and the companion pillar (73-1882), together with two further pillars now in the Campo Santo at Pisa, formed part of the monument of the Empror Henry VII (d.1313) in the Duomo at Pisa. In about 1315 the Pisans commissioned Tino di Camaino to erect a marble monument for the Emperor in the main apse of Pisa Cathedral. The exact arrangement of the monument is uncertain. The sarcophagus, with the Twelve Apostles on its long side, was placed in a niche from which angels held back curtains. An effigy of Henry lay on the sarcophagus; above must have been the enthroned figure of the Emperor surrounded by his counsellors. The pillars probably created the niche and supported the platform for the sarcophagus above.

Purchased in Florence (vendor not recorded with 74-1882) The purchase of these columns is recorded in a letter from Mr J.C. Robinson to The Times of 1st October 1883,: "These were obtained in 1881 from Pisa, and they were said by the vendor to have formed portions of a monument, originally extant in the cathedral...From a careful consideration of these shafts, and judging from various indications, I come to the conclusion that they were portions of the supporting columns of a baldachino or altar canopy". Historical significance: Henry VII (1274/5– 24 Aug 1313) was Count of Luxembourg before being elected King of Germany in 1308. In October 1310 he embarked on an Italian campaign with the aim of re-establishing imperial power and the peace that had been disrupted by fighting between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. After being crowned King of Lombardy in Milan in January 1311 he used force to procure his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in S Giovanni in Laterano in Rome the following year. He died in a campaign against King Robert of Naples (reg 1309–43) and was buried in Pisa Cathedral. There are some important works of art associated with Henry’s Italian campaign. Around 1315 the Pisans commissioned Tino di Camaino to erect a marble tomb for the Emperor in the main apse of Pisa Cathedral. Various attempts have been made to reconstruct the arrangement of the tomb, however the precise reconstruction of this now fragmentary monument remains uncertain. The sarcophagus, with the Twelve Apostles on its long side, was placed in a niche from which angels held back curtains. The effigy of the deceased lay on the sarcophagus; above must have been the enthroned figure of the Emperor surrounded by his counsellors.

Location: Medieval and Renaissance, room 10, case WW, shelf FS

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