Leo von Klenze
The Camposanto in Pisa, 1858
Öl auf Leinwand, 103,5 x 130,5 cm
1960 als Schenkung aus Privatbesitz erworben
Inv. Nr. 13078
The Camposanto in Pisa
This painting shows, in exact detail, a view of the west wing of the Camposanto in Pisa together with its most important adornments: On the back wall is the cosmos fresco attributed to Piero di Puccio, along side it the Old Testament cycle from Benozzo Gozzoli. Among the sculptures displayed along the walls is the famous bronze griffin from the 10th century that was originally part of the gable of the Pisa Cathedral.
Klenze has depicted the scene in exacting topographic detail, which he was able to capture after several visits to Pisa around 1850. An on-location pencil drawing served as the model, which the artist then in essence transferred to canvas without much alteration. A group of figures was merely added to the foreground to add a touch of activity. Additionally, the figures serve to emphasize the sheer scale of the edifice, as well as serving to raise the painting from the less esteemed veduta type to that of the more respected class of genre and history painting. The small scene shows a mother who, upon encountering a memorial, seems, with her raised hand, to be warning her child. Through the use of this apparently incidentally integrated motive the painter has given the work a moralizing element, which also serves to underscore his deep reverence for this medieval structure and its monuments.