Barga’s Pulpit

September 10, 2009 / Art & Archaeology
Barga, Tuscany
bargapulpit4Lions, dwarfs, eagles and snakes! Saints, prophets and heretics! Extra extra! All this and more at the pulpit in the Duomo of Barga!

Who knows what the unveiling announcement leaflet might have read? Fact is, what the maestri Comacini (literally Masters from Como, an influential medieval religious school of art that spread south to central Italy and north into Europe) depicted in “over the top” narrative, they offset through the use of their signature expressionless and rigid figurative style.

It’s thanks to magnificent pieces like this pink marble pulpit that you begin to understand Medieval art and its strange flat, mono-dimensional style a bit more. By portraying the figures at their most basic, the maestri forcefully leave all the imagination about the story to the viewer.

bargapulpit2Lions (Christianity) stepping on snakes (paganism), heretics caressing the lion with one hand while stabbing it with the other. Dwarfs (non-believers) groveling, lower that the ground upon which the saints walk.

Heavy-handed stuff for sure, but it’s still making an impression and going strong… 800 years on.


– Contributed by Paola de Angelis and Paolo Caravacci, owner of, a furniture manufacturer with a store in Barga.

3 Responses to “Barga’s Pulpit”

  1. Gian Banchero

    I’ve seen many churches as such in Italy, while inside one is connecting with history and their roots; for the Italian art as such is much more than an academic history lesson, it represents the fiber of whom we are. What a wonderful comfort to worship in these ancient unchanged buildings, sadly here in the States many beautiful churches have been so altered (read “modernized”)in the last forty years that they prove a distraction and lack any of the sense of sacredness and wonder that they once held… There ought to be a law. Many, many thanks to Signorina de Angelis and Signor Caravacci for the article and the stellar photographs.


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