Arts and Crafts

from the tiles Cycle of the Campanile di Giotto

The sculptural cycle of tiles

Symbol of the union between human and divine in Florence of the 14th century

The works of the arts and crafts and the Sacraments are inspired by the sculptural cycle of the tiles which was created between the mid-14th and the fourth decade of the 15th century by some of the major artists of the time, to adorn the first three registers of Giotto’s Bell Tower .
The 54 marble reliefs, organized in groups of seven, follow a precise iconographic programme.
The lower series, made up of hexagonal reliefs, depicts trades and human sciences. These works are all the work of Andrea Pisano and collaborators, except for the last five, works by Luca della Robbia.
The upper reliefs, on the other hand, are diamond-shaped and depict forces superior to daily work: Planets, Virtues, Sacraments, Liberal Arts.
The cycle therefore wanted to depict all human activities taken as a whole, and inserted in a universal spiritual framework.
After the first seven hexagons, which represent Creation, the first human activities appear, those of the progenitors, Adam and Eve, Tubalcain, Jabal, Jubal, Noah.
Next, we have the hexagons of the first Arts and Crafts governed by the Virtues: Astrology, Construction, Medicine, Horse Riding, Weaving, Mechanics. These arts are dominated by the upper lozenges depicting the Telogal and Cardinal Virtues: Faith, Charity and Hope, Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude. In the eastern facade of the Tower five hexagons continue the human arts: Navigation, Social Justice, Agriculture, the “Theatrica” art and Architecture; the two panels then moved to the north are also added, depicting Sculpture and Painting.
The lozenges above this cycle represent personifications of the “Trivio” and “Quadrivio”, i.e. of the “liberal” arts that were the subject of university study, namely Astronomy, Music, Geometry, Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic and Arithmetic.
Above them are the seven Sacraments, which are represented as extremely human scenes of daily life.
The whole cycle is therefore the representation of the thriving and industrious Florence of the 14th century, which in its “doing” tried to find a connection with the divine and with the cultural life of its time, in a harmonious relationship between all the parts that make up the human life.

The Sacraments

from the tiles Cycle of the Campanile di Giotto

Arts and Crafts

From the tiles Cycle of the Campanile di Giotto

The Sacraments

From the tiles Cycle of the Campanile di Giotto