TOSCANA - Pisa
FILE : Duomo 6
TITLE : The Flood — Noah’s Ark

LOCATION: Pisa Duomo, window n XVI

DIMENSIONS: 2.13 X 1.015 m. (panel 1, rectangle, 0.94 x 1.015 m.---panel 2, arched, 1.19 x 1.015 m)

PROVENANCE: Original location.

CHRONOLOGY: 1453-1454

AUTHOR: Della Scarperia workshop (documented) - Panel 2: Leonardo di Bartolomeo Della Scarperia, called "Lastra" (attribution) - Panel 1: Bartolomeo di Andrea Della Scarperia, called "Banco" (attribution)

PATRON: Opera della Primaziale

SUBJECT/S: Panel 1: The animals crowd at the entrance of the ark as Noah directs them; some birds fly towards a little window of the ark Panel 2: A brilliant, immense ark looms at the center of the composition; in the foreground, figures being tossed about by the waters try desperately to save themselves.

CRITICAL NOTES: The stained glass windows in the Duomo of Pisa had been scarcely noticed by scholars. The author of this file re-evaluated this corpus in a study that included direct examination of the stained glass windows and an exploration of the glazing cycle’s rich documentation. As a result of that research—recently published—the artistic personality of master "Lunardo" [Leonardo] was defined and distinguished from that of other members of the Della Scarperia workshop. Documents reveal Leonardo and his brother Goro received payments from the Opera della Primaziale (large sums that corresponded to more than one window) but archival documents offer little information that aids in a reconstruction of the artistic personalities in the bottega. Leonardo’s activity in the workshop is documented for a decade, but Goro’s name disappears from the documentation after one year. This is one of the reasons for attributing to Leonardo some of the first windows of the Genesis cycle in which there appears a particularly advanced technique: the use of flashed glass that has been abraded and then touched with "sanguine" (incarnato), a pigment applied to glass before firing. Some of the other windows attributed to Leonardo on the basis of their technique are: Creazione di Adamo --Creazione di Eva (Pisa duomo 2) , Lamech kills Cain  (Pisa duomo 6) and Noah’s Ark (Pisa duomo 7) . Other windows, such as Sacrifice of Isaac--Abraham with the three visitors, reveals Leonardo’s collaboration with his cousin "Banco". Window n XVI’s composition was influenced by the Genesis frescoes attributed to Paolo Uccello and Dello Delli in the Chiostro Verde of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.

A group of windows attributed to Banco is distinguished from the windows assigned to Leonardo on the basis of a vigorous trace line which Banco used to model and describe the forms; the figures were created through the use of a light application of grisaille to create a solid monumentality. These characteristics are evident in panel 1 of this window.

Partition of  15th century windows 

CONDITION: The re-adaption of the window to the reduced size of its window opening (after partial blockage of the aperture by a wainscoting) resulted in cropping and damage to the panels. With respect to the original format of the window (see partitura compositiva), the truncation of n XVI’s panels is among the most noticeable in the cycle. The window’s base panel, which would have displayed the emblem of the Opera della Primaziale, has been completely lost.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: See Bibl. Pisa Duomo – in recent volume by R. K. BURNAM Le vetrate del Duomo di Pisa "Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi - Italia, vol. 2, Quaderni della Scuola Normale di Pisa, Pisa, 2003.

PHOTOGRAPHIC REF.: R. K. Burnam Archive

EDITOR: R. K. Burnam, June 2003