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Lungarno Gambacorti
(Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina)

Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Saints' Statues at the Church of St. Mary of the Thorn

Various sculptors
14th century (copies)

Pisa /  Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina   Pisa /  Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina

Description

The church of St. Mary of the Thorn is one of the most outstanding Gothic edifices of Europe: it has a rectangular plant, with an external facing wholly composed of marble, laid in polychrome bands. The exterior appearance is marked by cusps, tympani and tabernacles, together with a complicated sculpture decoration with tarsiae, rose-windows and numerous statues from the main Pisane artists of the 14th century. These include Lupo di Francesco, Andrea Pisano with his sons Nino and Tommaso, and Giovanni di Balduccio.

All the statues are copies: the originals are in the National Museum of St. Matthew.

Front Façade (west)

The façade has two gates with lintelled arches. Among these lies the tabernacle with the statue of Madonna with the Child with two angels, attributed to Giovanni Pisano, flanked by tabernacles with angels. Two niches open in the upper part of the façade house the statue of Christ among the two Annunciation ones, and two other angels.

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Christ and two angels
Christ by Balduccio's shop or Andrea Pisano, and the angels by a follower of Giovanni Pisano

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Angel
by some attributed to Giovanni di Balduccio

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Madonna with the Child
and two angels
attributed to Giovanni Pisano

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Angel
by some attributed to Giovanni di Balduccio

Side Façade (south)

The side towards the street has a rich decoration with cusps and thirteen statues of the Apostles and Christ, from Lupo's workshop.

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Christ

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Matthias
San Mattia / St. Matthias the apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot. Protector of carpenters, butchers and smiths. His attribute is a halberd, signifying the way in which he died (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Bartolomeus

San Bartolomeo apostolo / St. Bartholomew the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Protector of shepherds and winegrowers. His attribute is a knife, which signifies the way in which he died (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Simon
Simone il Cananeo / St. Simon the Zealot or Simon Zelotes, one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. He is depicted with a saw (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Matteus
San Matteo / St. Matthew one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and one of the four Evangelists. His attribute is an angel. As patron saint of book-keepers, tax collectors and security forces, he is also depicted with writing utensils (Wikipedia)..

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Tomas
San Tommaso apostolo / St. Thomas one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Patron saint of architects, builders and land surveyors, usually holding a right-angle (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Jacobus
San Giacomo il Minore / St. James the Lesser one of the Twelve Apostles. Depicted with a club, since he is said to have been clubbed to death (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Petrus
San Pietro / St. Peter (possibly died AD 67), apostle, first pope; patron saint of locksmiths and confessors. Usually holding the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven in his hand (Wikipedia)

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Johes
San Giovanni apostolo / St. John the Apostle one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. The patron saint of book engravers, booksellers and authors, John, is holding a book and a chalice, and he, according to legend, prayed for it to become non-poisonous - considered to be the same person as John the Evangelist (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Andreas
San Andrea / St. Andrew apostle and the brother of Saint Peter; founder and the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium. Protector of fishermen, in particular. He is shown with a saltire cross, in accordance with the way in which he died (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Jacobus
San Giacomo il Maggiore / St. James the Greater (d. 44), one of the Twelve Apostles. Patron saint of pilgrims, soldiers and cavalrymen. Depicted holding a pilgrim's staff decorated with a scallop shell. His remains are in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain) (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Filippus
San Filippo apostolo / St. Philip one of the Twelve Apostles. He is protector of trinket merchants. He is depicted holding a cross in his left hand as a symbol of the way in which he died, and a book in his right hand as an emblem of dying for the Word of God (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
St. Taddeus?
San Giuda Taddeo / St. Jude the Apostle one of the Twelve Apostles (clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus) (Wikipedia).

NB The difference between James the Greater and James the Lesser is not clear in these statues.

Two more tabernacle house statues and on the tops of the gables are small statues portraying angels and saints. These sculptures are from Nino Pisano's workshop.

Southeast corner

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Tabernacle with
Madonna with Child
by Giovanni di Balduccio

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Unknown

Back Façade (east)

The back side has three gables intervalled by niches with the statues of the Saints Peter, Paul and John the Baptist. The high pyramid-like spires are topped with statues of the Madonna with Child between two angels, by Nino Pisano.

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Madonna with Child
by Nino Pisano

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della SpinaPisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Two angels

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
Figure on central gable
Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
San Pietro / St. Peter
(possibly died AD 67), apostle, first pope; patron saint of locksmiths and confessors. Usually holding the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven in his hand (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
San Paulo / St. Paul
the Apostle, (c. 5 - c. 67 ), persecuted the early followers of Jesus before switching sides and seeking to join them. He was instrumental in creating the Christian Church. He is the protector of tent-makers, theologians and the ecclesiastical press and is depicted with a sword. (Wikipedia).

Pisa - Statue dei Santi alla Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina
San Giovanni Battista / St. John the Baptist
(c. 6 BC- c. 36 AD), itinerant preacher and a major religious figure who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River. He baptized Jesus at "Bethany beyond the Jordan." (Wikipedia).

Sculptors

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Bartholomew, St.
  • Christ
  • Façade with statues (church)
  • Francesco, Lupo di
  • James the Greater, St.
  • James the Minor, St.
  • John the Apostle, St.
  • Jude the Apostle, St.
  • Mary with Child
  • Matthew, St.
  • Matthias, St.
  • Paul, St.
  • Peter, St.
  • Philip, St.
  • Pisano, Andrea
  • Pisano, Giovanni
  • Pisano, Nino
  • Simon the Zealot, St.
  • Thomas, St.
  • Location (N 43°42'54" - E 10°23'48")

    Item Code: itto004; Photograph: 7 May 2017
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt