Andrea Pisano, Panels from the south side of the Bell tower

White marble
Height: 80 cm ca.; Width: 70 cm ca.; Thickness: 13 cm ca.;

Marble reliefs depicting the activities of civilized man: Astronomy, Construction, Medicine, Horsemanship, Weaving, Law and Mechanics. Andrea Pisano and his workshop 1343 - 1350. The reliefs portray activities from civilized life, undertaken once primary needs have been satisfied. This shift is clearly marked in the hexagonal shape of these reliefs, in juxtaposition with the lozenge-shaped representations of the Cardinal and Theological Virtues placed above them. Astronomy corresponds to the Virtue of Faith, enabling the astronomer Gionitus, regarded in the Middle Ages as the son of Noah, to observe the skies, represented by a sphere depicting the zodiac, whose order is ordained by God. God himself, with his angels, is shown inhabiting an area beyond the stars. The relief dedicated to Construction shows a master-builder heading a team of masons at work, his size emphasizing his authority. Medicine depicts a doctor examining urine before a diagnosis. The profession transcends the humble nature of the humors it involves to achieve a noble end: the healing of the sick. The relief dedicated to Horsemanship, where man bends animals to his will, is followed by the one dedicated to Weaving, an activity critical to the economy of Florence in the Middle Ages. Law is personified by Phoroneus, the legendary king of Argos, considered the founder of law-making which enabled men to govern themselves. The cycle ends with Daedalus, a character from classical mythology considered the inventor of mechanics for having made his son Icarus a suit of feathers molded in wax and complete with mechanical wings, enabling him to fly. 

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