Art Giottos Fresco of Christs

Nicola Pisano also depicts Christs nativity on the Baptistry pulpit in Pisa. Unlike Giottos nativity scene, Pisanos is a marble sculpture, and the different medium lends a different feel to the composition. In Pisanos nativity, the Virgin mother appears old, austere, and detached. She looks away from her infant child in a pose exactly opposite from that of Giottos Mary who clings desperately to her fated infant. Pisanos Mary is also reclined but her looks off into the distance and not at Jesus. In fact, the baby Jesus floats in a space atop her outstretched body, wrapped tightly in what could just as easily be a sarcophagus as swaddling clothes.

Marys rigid restraint is coupled with the coffin-like imagery to portend Christs death. The tension in Pisanos piece therefore accomplishes the same thematic goal as Giottos desperate Mary who clings to her newborn. In contrast to Giottos sparce composition, Pisanos marble relief is crowded, filled with attendants, angels, and manger animals and imparting a more chaotic tone than Giottos nativity fresco..


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