Giuseppe Martini, Theatrum Basilicae pisanae (1705)

Giuseppe Martini provides an extensive description of the Camposanto. His Theatrum Basilicae Pisanae was published in 1705 in Rome. He talks not only about the architecture but also about the paintings and the tombs. There are four chapters dealing with the Camposanto. The first is about the location and the exterior view of the cemetery. In the second chapter, he writes about the architecture inside of the building. The third chapter is about the graves and the fourth is about the paintings. He quotes several inscriptions and is also very precise when it comes to the dimensions of the building. The descriptions of the paintings are quite long and detailed. On several occasions he refers to Vasari. / SB

Theatrum_basilicae_Pisanae (excerpt)

Source: Giuseppe Martini, Theatrum Basilicae Pisanae, in Quo Praecipuae Illius Partes Enarrationibus, Iconibusque Ostenduntur, 2 vols. (Rom: Antonio de Rossi, 1705-1723), 1:111.

Caput XVI. De Caemeterio Basilicae Pisanae. De Situ, ac partibus exterioribus

 

“Tertium mirandum aedificium adeamus, Basilicae nimirum Caemeterium, Campum Sanctum nuncupatum. Quo quidem Campi Sancti nomine haud immeritò decoratur vel ob Terram Sanctam ibidem existentem; vel ex eo quod in illo Deus, ut inquit, eruditissimus P. Bonannus in Templi Vaticani Hystoria cap. 24. suam sementem ac segetem habeat, quam sub finem Mundi demeret et in caeleste horreum invehet. Quod etiam innuere videntur verba in externo ejusdem Caemeterii lapide expressa, videlicet: Si quis in isto Campo sepultus fuerit et paenitentiam egerit de commissis vitam possidebit aeternam: Ut autem ejusdem molis magnitudo, situsque clarius cognoscantur illius vestigium seu Ichnographicam tabulam cum mensuris ob oculos subijciemus. Hujus igitur fabricae latitudo est palm. 160. & ultra. Longitudo verò ad palm. 550. extenditur demptis parietibus. Proindeque totum aedificium comprehensis quatuor partibus, nempè, juxta Varronem de lingua lat. lib. 6. sinistra ab Oriente; dextera ab Occasu; antica ad Meridiem; postica ad Septentrionem palm. 1500. & amplius in gyrum excurrit.

Opus hoc ad latitudinem, altitudinem et longitudinem Arcae Noe nonnulli ferunt extructum. Verùm potius aedificium hoc, inverso tamen columnarum ordine cum intus sit, interiorem partem Templi graece Hypaetros nuncupati redolere videtur. Etenim Templum Hypaetros, juxta formam à Vitruvio lib. 3. cap. 1. allatam columnis quaquaversum circumdatur à parietibus distantibus, ita ut inter columnas & parietes ambulacrum remaneat; medium verò subdio & sine tecto est.

Hujus Caemetrii facies meridionalis albo ex marmore incrustatur, ac quadraginta quatuor marmoreis parastatis, columnarum forsitan externarum praememorati Templi Hypaetros formam prae se ferentibus, exornatur. Per duas ianuas patet aditus: Harum alterum imminet miraculosa Imago D.N.Jesu Christi Cruci affixi ex marmore à supradicto egregio Viro Nicolao Pisano, ut ajunt, exculpta; alteri verò eminet Beatissimae Virginis puerum amplexantis effigies marmorea in suo marmoreo loculamento à laudato Joanne praedicti Nicolai fratre, ni fallor, elaborata. Hanc prope januam sequentia carmina per vetusto charactere & abbreviatè incisa sunt.

Aspice qui transis, miserabilis inspice quis sis, / Tali namque domo clauditur omnis homo. / Quisquis ades, qui morte cades, sta, perlege, plora, / Sum quod eris, quod es, ipse fui, pro me, precor, ora.” (109)

Chapter XVI. Across the cemetery of Pisa Cathedral. From the location and parts of the area

 

We are approaching the third architectural wonder, namely the cemetery of the Cathedral, the so-called Camposanto. Not undeservedly it has its name from its design or from the holy earth; or the name comes from there, when one goes beyond the limits of this world and ascends to the forecourt of Heaven towards God, as Fr. Bonannus discusses in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Templi Vaticani Historia.

This is also what is written on a stone outside the cemetery: Whoever will be buried in this cemetery and entrusted with the repentance of his life will possess eternity. Even if laid on thick here, the place is widely known as the large inscription shows us. The building is consequently more than 160 hands wide. It is in fact 550 handbreadths long, if you count out the walls. The whole building therefore comprises four parts, as Varro writes in his Book 6 on the Latin language; from east to left; from west to right; from front to south: from the back to the north, the building comprises more than 1500 handbreadths.

So they brought together in length, width and height Noah’s Ark. In fact, this building resembles a so-called Greek temple of Hypaetros, because of the order of the columns inside, as one might guess. The immutable temple of Hypaetros, the shape of which Vitruvius describes in the Book 3, Chapter 1, where the columns are surrounded by dividing walls, but between the walls and the columns remained a space, which is lower in the center and without a roof.

 

This cemetery faces south and is decorated with white marble, which is stained, and 44 marble columns, perhaps brought from the outside of the temple of Hypaetros. One can enter through two doors. One of them has the miraculous image of Jesus Christ crucified, made of marble by that excellent man Nicola Pisano. At the other one, the Blessed Virgin is elaborated, as she is surrounded by marble images of boys and praised by John, as Brother Nicolai prophesied, if I am not deceived. When you enter through this entrance, you see an old and abbreviated poem.

See, you who pass through here, how miserable you are, / Such a house is closed to all people. / Someone who stands here and is being assaulted death, stands here, reads and cries, / I am where you will be, where you are, I have been myself, pray a prayer for me.”

Caput XVII. De partibus Interioribus Caemeterii

“Intus in medio Caemeterii reperitur, ut jam exposuimus, amplum atrium subdio et nullo silice tectum. Ibi terra sancta visitur in tres partes divisa; quam terram ex Orientalibus plagis allatam Pisanorum historia docet. Hujusmodi atrium columnis, seù marmoreis parastatis, quibus incumbunt arcus, quaquaversum cingitur, ita ut in fronte sex supra basim assurgant parastatae, totidem in adversa parte, in lateribus verò exclusis duabus, quae Frontibus etiam communes sunt (utpotè in angulis positae) vigintiseptem utrinque. E pavimento in intercolumniorum spatiis attollitur soccus marmoreus, qui columellas suffulcit marmoreas ornamenta sustinentes decorè, eximieque sculpta; hisque omnibus magnus ac pulcherrimus fenestrarum ordo conficitur, ut ex ipsa Tabula cognosces. Per sex magnas Januas in intercolumniorum spatiis efformatas in idem atrium patet ingressus. Harum altera in medio frontis; altera in parte opposita; reliquae verò in parte boreali, ac meridiana aequaliter distribuuntur. Inter columnas seu parastatas et parietes interjacet ambulacrum tam in lateribus, quàm in fronte, ac in adversa parte ejusdem latitudinis, nimirum palm. 42 et Universum ambulacri pavimentum albo ex marmore lineis caeruleis marmoreis distincto elaboratum est. Parietes omnes Picturarum decore illustrantur, de quibus infra in cap. 19. Textum ferè totum est laminis plumbeis stratum, trabibus, ac tigillis affabre compactum. Sedilia marmorea intus duplici ordine decurrunt in gyrum, nempe subter earundem fenestrarum ordinem, ac in opposita è diametro parte prope muros depictos. Hoc in loco plurima substructa cernuntur sepulchra; plures illustrium Virorum haerent parieti tumuli à praestantissimis opificibus mirifice elaborati; plures etiam, ut annuimus, eodemmet in agro sub dio marmoreae ac vetustissimae prominent arcae. A sinistris introeuntinm duo cernuntur Oratoria. In fronte assurgit insigne sacellum D. Hieronymo dicatum ac sumptibus Archiepiscopi Caoli Putei Pedemontani excitatum; ubi in ara visitur tabula D. Hieronymi ab Aurelio Lomio egregio penicillo depicta. Altitudo aedificii, si sumatur usque ad coronidem, est palm. 80 si usque ad culmen texti, palm 100 explet.

 

 

Opus hoc respectu soli à Capitulo Pisano accepti ubi terra Sancta, quam supra memoravimus, locata fuit, inceptum est anno 1200 Archiepiscopo Ubaldo: ut ex vetustissimis monumentis eruitur, Anno verò 1278 juxtà Pisanum stylum, idem terrae spatium marmoreo claustro à praelaudato Joanne Pisano exornatum fuit Archiepiscopo Friderico, prout constat ex sequenti epigraphe in externo lapide sculpta, videlicet

Anno Domini MCCLXXVIII tempore Domini Friderigi Archiepiscopi Pisani, Domini Tarlatti Potestatis, Operario Orlando Sardella, Joanne Magistro aedificante.

ex altera tamen inscriptione in parastata interiori expressa constat plures fenestras fuisse perforatas anno 1464. Archiepiscopo Philippo de Medicis.

Porrò hujus Caemeterii elegantia mirabilis; & quidem jure, ac meritò religiosissima Svecorum, Gothorum, Vandalorumque Regina Christina Alexandra, cum illud intueretur, nobile musaeum appellavit. Nam idem haud tenebricoso perfunditur, sed sole irradiante ubique clarescit. Atrium et ambulacrum, tam quoad amplitudinem, quam quoad lapidum structuram quid Regium ac magnificum continent. Praeclarae huic nobilitati splendorem addunt non exiguum illustria tum Sculpturae, tum Picturae, tum Architecturae monimenta. Admirabilem Architectura plurium sepulchrorum concinnitatem & symmetriam exhibit. Ad stuporem etiam Sculptura in figuris marmoreis ostendit artificium; ex praedictis siquidem vetustissimis arcis Nicolaus & Joannes celeberrimi Pisani Sculptores artis politioris susceptam methodo, ut notat Vasarius lib. I. pag. mihi 98, eam in meliorem formam revocarunt. Pictura quoque omnium oculis variam, pulcherrimamque colorum scena blanditur ac optimis delineationibus sacra Veteris ac Novi Testamenti mysteria eleganti dispositione demonstrat. Hinc etiam praestantissimi quondam sc[i]entiarum Professores, ac Pisani publici Gymnasii clarissima Sydera, videlicet Curtius, Vegius, Decius, aliique complures ex urna sepulchrali exquisitissimas habent lectiones, ad antiquos quippe dies et annos aeternos mente revolvendos omnes erudiunt.”

 

 

Aedificium hoc plures eruditissimi Viri singulari laudum praeconio illustrarunt; quos inter enumerantur praememorati Ughellius, Troncia & Vasarius; nec non Petrus Vandenbroekius praeceptor meus humanissimus in sua Alphea Panegiri inter poemata pag. mihi 45 ita cecinit.

Chapter XVII. From the inner parts of the cemetery

In the center of the cemetery there is a significant, uncovered courtyard of pebbles, as we have explained. There the holy earth, which is visited, divides into three parts. The history teaches that the Pisans, defeated in the Orient, brought the earth. The marble columns are placed equally in the courtyard in such a way that they lie on the arches and encircle them, so that on the front they rise on six pedestals, which are placed equally. There are just as many in the opposite part. The two parts are separated on the sides and have a common part in front with twenty-seven columns on either side, arranged at an angle. From the ground in the space between the columns rise marble pedestals that support the marble columns decorated with ornaments, which are exceptionally designed. And all this grandeur and beauty is completed by an arrangement of windows, as you will see from the same panel. Six entrances form the space between the columns and open the access to the inner courtyard. One is in the center of the front, the other in the opposite part. The rest, in fact, are distributed in part north and in part south accordingly. Between the columns and the walls is a space that measures 42 hands wide from the side to the front, and in the opposite part, and the white floor of the room of marble is decorated by lines on blue marble. All of the walls are decorated with paintings, which we will talk about below in chapter 19. The roof is made of a thin sheet of lead and is held together by beams. The marble pews run down in a circular line, however, the window order runs below it and on the opposite side it has pictured walls nearby. Graves are seen in many places at the base, which are placed here. Many famous men are buried here, distinguished by excellent works and wonderful deeds. Many, if we agree, are buried in divine coffins made of marble that stand out for their age. To the left of the two left entrances is the chapel. On the front, there is the chapel dedicated to St. Jerome, commissioned by Archbishop Caoli Putei Pedemontani. There, on the altar, is an image of St. Jerome, painted with excellent hand by Aurelio Lomio. The height of the building, to find a conclusion here, is 80 handbreadths to the ridge of the roof and 100 handbreadths in total.

As we have mentioned above, this work was created thanks solely to the Pisan Chapter that adopted the holy earth from Archbishop Ubaldo who brought it here in 1200. How it was erected from the oldest monuments in 1278 and decorated by the pledged Nicola Pisano and commissioned by Archbishop Frederico to create a room in marble for the earth, is in fact also reported by a Pisan writing, carved on the outside as an epigraph in stone

In the year of the Lord 1278 in the time of the Lord of Pisa Archbishop Federico, by the power of the Lord Tarlatti, the operaio Orlando Sardella and John the master builder.

Another inscription placed inside reports that most of the windows were perforated in 1464. Archbishop Philip de Medici.

Further, this cemetery is of marvelous elegance; and it is certainly true that the Svears [Svecorum], the Goths, the Vandals, and Queen Christina Alexandra, if they looked upon the cemetery, would regard it as an outstanding museum.

Likewise, it is by no means doused with darkness, but the sunlight shines brightly everywhere. The courtyard and the corridor are so vast and so structured by the stone that they seem regal and splendid. In addition to this well-known splendor, there are the sculptures, the paintings and the architectural monuments, which are by no means less conspicuous.

Admirable architecture and many hewn and symmetrical tombs are exhibited. To be marveled at are the marble figures which show their artifice. The old artists Nicola and John of a prophecy, the famous sculptors who created art in the smooth way, as Vasari recalls with great beauty in the Book I, page 98.

The paintings, which flatter all eyes with the most beautiful colors and composition, show ancient sacred representations and mysteries of the Old Testament in elegant execution.

Here they have collections of excellent tombs of outstanding scientific professors and also of Pisans of public schools, such as the famous Sydera, the famous Curtius, Vegius, Decius, and many others, which admittedly tell of old days and eternal years and turn the mind.

This building shows many unique, educated men, praises them and celebrates their accomplishments, already enumerated by Ughellius, Troncia and Vasari. And Petrus Vandroekius, my humanistic teacher, does not forget to sing about them in his Alpha Panegrini in the poem on page 45.

Caput XVIII. De Coemeterii Sepulchris

Dicendum modò est aliquid de tumulis in particulari in eodem Coemeterio existentibus, nam illis ferè undique totus locus affluit. Ex his alia subter pavimentum marmoreum substructa, seu concamerata sunt et haec numerum 600 excedunt. Alia eodem in agro prominent, ut sarcophagi et arcae et haec numerum 60 explent. Alia numero inferiora vel è supradicto ambulacri pavimento consurgunt, vel pictis parietibus adhaerent. Quod spectat ad primum sepulchrorum genus nil ornamenti speciali nota dignum meo judicio visitur, quam eorundem pars superior, quae, cum sit ejusdem Coemeterii pavimentum, è marmore lineis caeruleis, ut exposuimus, distincto, constructa est. Quoad secundum genus, nimirum sarcophagos et arcas plura notanda sunt; nam omnes etsi non ejusdem amplitudinis, peculiare tamen digni sunt animadversione, cum omnes antiquitatem redoleant, ac ex longinquis regionibus huc usque translati sint inter alia optima spolia, manubiasque à victis hostibus reportatas, ut praeter caeteros notat idem laudatus Vasarius lib. I fol. mihi 79. […].” (113).

Chapter XVIII Graves of the Cemetery

Something should be said of the nature of the tombs, especially those that are in the cemetery, because they fill the entire square on all sides. Of these, some are under a marble floor or are covered by marble and these are more than 600 in number. Others stand as sarcophagi or coffins on the field and are 60 in number. A smaller number rises from the floor of the aisle or is attached to the painted walls. In the first kind of the graves, you see that they are without special decoration and have dignified features, according to my judgment, as one can see. We have shown just how superior that part on the floor of the cemetery is, because it is equipped with blue lines made of marble. The second type of sarcophagi and boxes, however, are marked differently; although not all of the same size, they deserve special attention. For all of them possess an ancient odor and come from distant regions and belong to excellent loot and were brought back as booty from the defeated enemies. Vasari also praises the others in Book I, fol. 79 […].» (113)

Caput XIX. De Coemeterii Picturis

“Egimus supra de tumulis et sepulchris in particulari, restat modo de Picturis aliquid disserere, cum illis, ut annuimus, omnes ejusdem Coemeterii parietes insigniti conspiciantur. Ut autem Sacrae Historiae ibidem expressae genuinum ordinem sequamur nulla temporis Artificum habita ratione à primo Mundi exordio initium sumemus. Latus itaque ad Boream ingredientis primo sese offert aspectui praegrandis Aeterni Patris effigies, qui brachiis extensis Angelorum Hierarchias, Coelorum orbes, Elementa, omnemque Terrae molem ostendit. Hanc tabulam unà cum D. Augustini, ac D. Thomae Aquinatis imaginibus in inferioribus angulis expressis Bonamicus Buffalmaccus Florentinus pereleganter delineavit et hos sequentes versus ad majorem invisibilis Dei notitiam idem, ut opinor subter apposuit:

Voi che avisate questa Dipintura / Di Dio pietoso Sommo Creatore / Lo qual fè tutte cose con amore / Pesate, numerate et in misura. / In nove gradi Angelica natura / In ello Empirio Ciel pien di splendore / Colui che non si muove, ed è Motore / Ciascuna cosa fece buona, e pura. / Levate gl’ occhi del vostro intelletto / Considerate quanto è ordinato / Lo Mondo universale, e con affetto. / Lodate lui che l’hà sì ben creato / Pensate di passare à tal diletto / Trà gl’Angeli dov’è ciascun beato.

“Parietum pars altera ad Meridiem exhibet fortissimi Job celebrem historiam ab egregio viro Jotto Florentino elegantibus coloribus delineatam, ac in sex tabulas divisam. In harum tabularum proxima inter caetera singulari animadversione digni censentur Nuntii malum, quod acciderat Job significantes, cum pastorum more induti dolorem ob amissos ovium greges, aliaque detrimenta susceptum ad vivum exprimant. In aliis tabulis etiam peculiari nota dignus est idem Job ulcere pessimo percussus saniem sibi testa radiens in sterquilinio. Caeterae quoque figurae, ut inquit, idem Vasarius part. I. fol. mihi 123 praecipuè in capitibus accuratis delineationibus exprimuntur et eam Jotto famam tunc temporis peperunt, ut summus Pontifex Benedictus XI dictus XII eundem accersiri jusserit, ut in D. Petri augustissimo Templo suo penicillo Sacras Historias efformaret. Praedictarum figurarum vestes ab injuria temporum laesas vel salsedine rosas Johannes Stephanus de Marucellis circa dimidium Saeculi nuper elapsi elegantibus coloribus reaptavit.

Post vitam Job sequuntur plurium SS. Martyrum et Confessorum celeberrima gesta. Deindè quatuor Novissima, nimirum Mors, Judicium, Infernus, ac Paradisus, ac demùm in ipsius Caemeterii facie Domini nostri Servatoris Crucifixio, ejusdemque gloriosissima Resurrectio. In praememoratis proximis SS. Martyrum iconibus occurunt, Sanctorum Ephisi et Potiti fortissima gesta ab insigni viro Spinello Aretino egregiis coloribus depicta. In harum altera ostenditur Sanctus Ephisus quando ab Imperatore Generalatus insignia contra Christi fideles excipit, ac postmodum divinitus, ne Jesum Christum persequeretur admonitus Vexillum fidei cum Cruce alba in campo rubeo de manu Angeli suscipit. In caeteris iconismis ipsorum Martyrum tormenta, ac eorundem Sanctorum Pisas ex insula Sardinia translatio satis accurate efformantur. De hac traslatione libet adnectere quod cecinit Salvator Vitalis Ecloga 2 de mystica Sardiniae fertilitate. […]

In sequentibus sex tabulis praeclaram D. Raynerii Confessoris Pisani vitam egregie delinearunt Simon Memmius Senensis et Antonius vulgò nuncupatus il Venetianino; quorum alter floruit circa dimidium 13 saeculi; alter verò circa finem. In harum tabularum prima plura notanda sunt, ac praeceteris D. Raynerius psalterio speciosissimas Faeminas ad saltum excitans, qui postmodum à B. Alberto admonitus ob patrati criminis moerorem ingentes lacrymas emittit. In altera idem Sanctus exhibetur bona pauperibus distribuens proxime Navim ingressurus; ibi inter caetera commendantur claudi, caeci, pauperes Faeminae cum pueris; siquidem omnes revera eleemosynas petentium, gratesque rependentium actus optime demonstrant. In sequenti icone visitur B. Virgo quando in Civitate Tyri eidem Raynerio apparuit, ut supra indicavimus pag. 37. In altera idem Vir Dei repraesentatur in Monte Thabor caelesti Numinis cum Moysi et Elia apparitione recreatus. In caeteris quadratis à laudato Antonio Venetianino depictis perpolite designatur D. Raynerius in Navi ad Patriam reversurus. Plures etiam figurae visuntur affare stupore perfusae, dum Vir Dei cuidam Cauponi diabolum ostendit dolio sub felis forma insidentem et aquam à vino divinitus sejunctam in terram cadentem. Nec minorem considerationem efflagitat quadratum, ubi servi Dei obitus exprimitur; ibidem cantorum caetus circa feretrum mirabilis, nam omnes canentium cum oris, tum corporis gestus perelegantur efformant. Turba quoque innumera pauperum, caecorum, claudorum et eorum, qui dum sacrum corpus ad majorem Ecclesiam ferebatur sanitatem exceperunt, scite coloribus elaborata est. Has praedictas icones, quae nonparum, ut ajunt, profuerunt ob illarum antiquitatem pro indulto recitandi lectiones proprias in officio ejusdem Sancti, cum alicubi edaci temporis morsu vel salsedine corrosae sint, aere incidendas curavimus; quarum tres penitus absolutas in tabula 27 habebis. Inde sequuntur Sanctorum Patrum vitae mirabili artificio expressae; ac primò visuntur varia Abbatis Paphnutii gesta, ab eodem Antonio Vinitianino eleganter delineata. Hoc in loco dignam judicavimus, quae rerum antiquarum studiosos non dimittat, proximam inscriptionis Rolandi Canonici Pisani. […] In aliis deinde iconismis plures Religiosi in solitudine cernuntur. Alii, nimirum in monte divinis contemplationibus dediti; alii operationibus ad victum sibi parandum intenti accuratè repraesentantur. Hinc sanè plura notanda essent, dum omnes figurae à celeberrimo Viro Petri Laureato Senensi affabrè expressae sunt; verum brevitatis indulgentes ab illarum descriptione abstinebimus.

Proximè sese offert tormentorum domus ab insigni Bernardo Orgagna Florentino depicta. Hinc varia poenarum genera, innumeraque damnatorum tormenta artificiose delineata sunt. Siquidem in medio veluti in cathedra flammis undequaque manantibus diabolus mirae magnitudinis insidet et aliorum demonum actiones, animarumque cruciatus ignitis oculis inspicit.

In proximo quadrato exprimitur Judicium ab Andrea Orgagna supradicti Bernardi fratre eleganter efformatum. Ibi prominet magna sedes ab aliis Apostolorum subselliis sejuncta, ubi Christus Dominus cum majestate insidet. Hinc inde Angeli, quorum alii Crucem, alii spineam coronam, alii lanceam, disciplinas, funes et alia Sacra Passionis instrumenta demonstrant. Non procul assidet Beatissima Virgo. Inferius tàm à dextris, quàm à sinistris Sanctorum et Sanctarum caetus exultant. In plano in parte dextera electorum multitudo, astat in sinistra damnatorum turba ad tartara dejicitur; in medio verò visuntur sepulchra è quibus mortuorum corpora animabus conjuncta resurgunt. Hinc quemdam hypocritam electorum caetui sese conjungentem ad reproborum locum ab Angelo rejectum. Salomonem auteum, cujus salus incerta habetur, pictoris solertia neque à dextris, neque à sinistris, sed ipsum è sepulchro egredientem sedulò effinxit. In Justorum caetu praemoratus artifex plures pinxit amicos et benefactores, inter quos, ut inquit Vasarius, Summi Pontificis Innocentii IV effigiem efformavit.

In proxima icone Mortis triumphus ostenditur, ubi sequentia verba leguntur:

Schermo di sapere, e di richezza / Di nobiltate, e di prodezza / Val niente al colpo di costei.

Per aerem deformissimae vetulae formam praeseferens falce elata, nigrisque alis in actu volantis Mors eminet. Subter prominet magnus cadaverum acervus; ubi Pontifices, Imperatores et Principes cum pauperibus, servis et rusticis confusim alter super alterum inspiciuntur. Ex Justorum ore animas sub humano corpore ab artifice expressas Angeli excipiunt. Diaboli verò è reproborum oribus illas abstrahunt. Non procul visitur Turba claudorum, pauperum, ac senum mortem ipsam enixe, ut eorum miserrimae vitae diem solveret extremum, exorantium. At illa eroumdem preces respuens ad alios falcem dirigit, nimirum ad iuvenes, qui in viridario inter sonitus et cantus una cum faeminis psallentes vitam in deliciis degunt, ex his alterum qui manu accipitrem sustinet, Castrucci Ducis effigiem praeseferre ajunt. Suprà proximum montem cernuntur plures senes mortem continuò expectantes. In angulo inferiori tres visuntur arcae, ubi tria regum mortuorum corpora jacent, quorum alterum est uti recens, alterum inflatum, tertium verò ossa denudata demonstrat. Quibus arbitror peritum artificem ostendere voluisse hujus terrae virtutem, 24 horis corpora in pulverem redigentem, ut cecinit Nathan Chytraeus his versibus:

Antiqui Splendoris ad huc monumenta supersunt
Inclyta, marmoreis fulgentia tecta columnis
Turris et inclynata foris minitansque ruinam,
Pendula recta intus si videris, area longa
Gloria Romani Decius, qua maxima juris
Conditus est, ubi vicenis et quatuor horis
Corpora consumi memorant his obruta terris.

 

 

In has praedictas arcas oculos figunt plures viri equis insidentes, quorum alter, qui sibi nares claudit Ludovicum Bavarum, ut ajunt, repraesentat; alter Uguccionem vulgò della fagiola, Tertius verò Imperatorem Fridericum vulgo Barbarossa. Non procul hinc die Commemorationis omnium fidelium defunctorum è plano pavimento attolitur funebris Thronus, sub quo ara consurgit, ubi Missa solemnis pro defunctis celebratur cum interventu totius Cleri, qui etiam post secundas Vesperas Festivitatis processionaliter accedit ad Vesperas pro iisdem defunctis recitandas maximo populi concursu.

Proximum quadratum in fronte ejusdem Caemeterii affabrè ab eodem Buffalmacco delineatum fuit. Hic Primogenitus mortuorum, Christus Dominus cum latronibus è Cruce pendet; Juxta Crucem visitur Beatissima Virgo dolore transfixa, ac à longe plures, qui Crucifixionem spectaverunt militum revertentes turbae conspiciuntur. In altero iconis latere ejusdem Redemptoris resurrectio repraesentatur, ubi sequentia verba appicta sunt:

In Resurrectione tua Christe / Coeli et Terra laetentur alleluja.

Ac non procul in eadem icone cernitur etiam Domini gloriosissima Ascensio, ubi pariter haec verba visuntur:

Omnes gentes plaudite manibus jubilate Deo / Ascendit Deus in jubilo et Dominus in voce tubae.

Quae quidem verba hoc in loco fortasse ad mortis etiam timorem ablegandum fuerunt expressa. Nam si Christus Dominus resurrexit, ita et nos resurgemus. Omnia, inquit, D. Augustinus Sermo 3 de Ascensione, quae Dominus Jesus in hoc mundo sub fragilitate nostra miracula edidit nobis proficiunt. Qui dum humanam conditionem syderibus importavit, credentibus Coelum patere posse monstravit. Et dum victorem mortis in coelestia elevavit, victoribus quò sequantur ostendit. Quia igitur, ut inquit S. Leo Sermo 3 de Ascensione Domini Christi Ascensio nostra provectio est et quo processit gloria capitis, eo spes vocatur et corporis, dignis exultemus gaudiis et pia gratiarum actione laetemur.

Hujus elegantissimi aedificii ut melius concipiatur dispositio, interiorem illius Prospectum juxta regulas ejusdem laudati Viti Andreae Putei Societatis Jesu delineatum oculis subjiciemus.”

Chapter XIX. About the Paintings of the Cemetery

As we have talked about the tombs, what remains to be discussed is the pictures that are on all of the walls of the cemetery. In order that sacred history may be viewed in its proper order, let us begin with the Beginning of the World. Therefore, we begin far in the north, where the extremely great eternal fathers, embracing with their arms the hierarchy of the angels, the celestial sphere, the elements and the whole earth mass, are to be seen. This picture shows St. Augustine and St. Thomas among angels, which the Florentine Buonamico Buffalmaco drew with refined expression. This sequence is followed by a great knowledge of invisible God. I believe it says:

‘You, who see this painting / Of God, the merciful, supreme Creator / Who makes all things with love / Balanced, counted and measured / In nine stages the nature of angels / In this heavenly realm full of glory / The unmoved mover / Makes every thing good and pure / Lift up the eyes of your mind / Consider how much and how orderly / The whole world and with love. / Praise him for how well he has done / Remember to pass into such joy / Between the angels, where all are blessed’

The other part of the wall, towards the south, shows the famous story of the brave Job, painted by the outstanding Florentine Giotto, drawn with elegant colors and divided into six parts. In this picture, closest to the rest, the bad news that befell Job is portrayed with unique, dignified attention. Just as the shepherd is in pain over the loss of the flock of sheep and other evils, the story comes alive. In the other pictures, the same Job is seen, himself as a witness on a dung heap, with a foul ulcer filled with bloody pus. The other figures are also, as the same Vasari says in Part I, page 123, excellently represented by size. And Giotto, at that time, gained a reputation whereupon the supreme pope Benedict XI, called XII, ordered him brought to paint with his brush the sacred stories in Saint Peter’s, the venerable temple. The aforementioned paintings were damaged by the injustice of time or were gnawed because of the salinity in the air. Johannes Stephanus de Marucellis restored the elegant colors around the middle of the last century.

After the life of Job, many saints, martyrs, and confessors follow, whose execution was highly acclaimed. This is followed by four new ones, namely the Triumph of Death, the Last Judgment, Hell, Paradise, and in the same cemetery we see the face of our Lord Savior on the cross and the glorious Resurrection of the same. Next we encounter images of holy martyrs. The Saints Ephesus and Potitus, executed in the strongest manner and bearing signs of the Lord Spinello Aretino, are painted with excellent colors. In these, one sees how Saint Ephesus receives the signs against the believing Christians from the Emperor. But soon after, by divine providence, he receives from the hand of an angel the flag of faith with a white cross on a red background, so that he does not persecute Christ. In the other pictures, we see how the same martyr is tortured and how the saint is appropriately transferred from the island of Sardinia to Pisa. To this transfer can be added, of course, where the Savior sings of the mysterious fertility of Sardinia. […]

In the following six pictures, the life of the excellent St. Ranieri, a Pisan confessor, was excellently depicted by Simone Memmi from Siena and by Antonius, who is commonly called Veneziano. The former blossomed in the middle of the 13th century, the latter towards the end. Many things are depicted in the first panel, including how St. Ranieri sings about beautiful women with great joy, until Blessed Albertus admonishes him that he is committing a crime, whereupon he falls into enormous sorrow and sheds tears. Another shows holy goods being distributed to the poor, and, in the next, St. Ranieri getting on the ship is represented. In another, how St. Ranieri confides in the lame, the blind and poor women with children is portrayed. The excellence of the deeds is shown when all who actually asked for alms express gratitude for them. In the following picture, you can see the Blessed Virgin appearing to St. Ranieri in the city of Tyre, as we mentioned above on page 37. In another, one sees the man of God represented to whom Moses and Elijah appear by divine command. In the other pictures, the praised Antonio Veneziano painted St. Ranieri returning to the fatherland by ship in the finest way. Many other paintings also astonish us, as when the man of God exposes a certain grocer who placed his barrel under the picture of a cat and adulterated the divine wine with water by making the wine flow on the earth. The painting where the servant of the Lord dies deserves no less attention. A singing group of people carries the miracle worker and they are depicted with singing, open mouths and carrying the corpse. As the holy body is brought to the largest church, a crowd of people, the needy, the blind and the lame, is healed . This is painted in color, as you know. The images mentioned, which are not equivalent, are useful despite their age, to capture the deeds of the saint, although in certain places biting time has gnawed at them or they are corroded by the salt that lets in the air. Three images are badly affected by this and a total of twenty-seven. Then we follow the admirable life of the Holy Fathers, depicted in works of art. First, we see the father Paphnutius, skillfully painted by Antonio Veneziano. We have not given up the study of ancient things in this dignified place and next we come to the inscriptions of Canon Roland from Pisa. In the other paintings, we see many religious people in seclusion. The others, however, surrender to contemplation on the holy  mountain. Other activities aimed at the preparatory way of life are depicted. Here, however, it is more remarkable in that all the images of the famous Peter Laureato are artfully depicted. Indeed, we will refrain from indulging in brief descriptions of those. Next, the torture house is shown, painted with the signs of Bernardo Orgagna of Florence. Various general punishments and countless sentences are artfully depicted here. You see with burning eyes how devilish miracles of great proportions pour down in the middle against the burning pulpit and further evil deeds torment the souls. The next picture depicts the Last Judgment, skillfully painted by Andrea Orgagna, the brother of the aforementioned Bernardo. There, it has large seats where the apostles are distributed on benches and where Christ sits down with dignity. Here, angels bear the cross, the crown of thorns, the lance, the scourge, the ropes and other instruments of the Holy Passion. The Blessed Virgin is sitting down not far from it. The damned come from the right, while from the left the saints come and rejoice. In the area on the right side stand the crowd of the chosen, while next to it, on the left, is  the crowd of the damned, being thrown into the underworld. In the center, one sees the tombs from which the bodies of the dead emerge united with the souls. Here, a hypocrite, who has joined the chosen crowd, is driven away by an angel to the place of the damned. As for Solomon, whose salvation is not considered assured, the painter has placed him neither on the left nor on the right, but he is seen laboriously emerging from his tomb himself. In the Judgment scene, the artist has painted in the waiting crowd many friends and benefactors, among whom, as Vasari said, Pope Innocent IV is shown. In the next picture, the image of the Triumph of Death is shown, where the following words are to be read:

The display of knowledge and wealth / Of nobility and valor / Is nothing against the blow of this

Through the air in the form of an abominable old woman with black wings, Death flies to the dead carrying a sickle in front of her. Below, a great heap of cadavers protrudes; there, popes, emperors and princes are shown with the poor, slaves and peasants mixed with others above others. From the mouths of the righteous, the angels take the souls from the human bodies, as expressed by the artist. The devils, in fact, tear them out of the mouths of the damned. Not visited [by Death] is the crowd of the lame, the poor and the old, who plead and strive for death because they want to be redeemed from their miserable life on the last day. But she repels their prayer and directs the sickle to the others. She directs it against the young men who, in the green and listening to strains of songs, spend life in luxury together with women who play the zither; the man who holds the hawk in his hand is the image of the Duke of Castrucci, as they say. Above the next mountain, many scenes are depicted where death is expected. At the lower corner, coffins are seen containing the bodies of three dead kings, one still fresh, another bloated, and the third truly showing only the bones. The artist thus shows the now obsolete belief that the earth has the power to turn bodies into a state of dust in twenty-four hours, as Nathan Chytraeus sings about in his verses:

Ancient splendor is still left in this monument
Splendid marble brilliantly covers the columns
The tower and the gate threaten to topple
You see it hanging from within, a great field
By the honor of the Roman Decius, by supreme justice
It was founded, where in 24 hours
The bodies buried in this earth decompose

Near the aforementioned coffins, one sees many horsemen, of which the one who holds his nose is Louis of Bavaria, as they say. Another is Uggocione, called della Faggiola, and the third is in fact Emperor Frederick, called Barbarossa. Not far back are the days when the deceased were remembered and a throne belonging to the burial was brought to the wide field, above which an altar rises, where the holy mass for the deceased was celebrated with the participation of the entire clergy, who, after the second celebration of Vesper, came in procession to read to the dead at Vesper in front of a large crowd. The next picture on the front of the cemetery was artistically drawn by Buffalmacco. Here, the firstborn, the Lord Jesus Christ, died hanging on the cross with the thieves. As well as the cross, the Blessed Virgin is seen being pierced by pain, along with many more looking on at the Crucifixion, such as returning soldiers and a crowd of people. In the other large paintings, the Resurrection of the Savior is depicted, where the following words are written:

At your resurrection Christ / Heaven and earth hail you with hallelujahs.

And not far in this picture, God is also seen gloriously ascending to Heaven, where this word can also be seen:

All people clap their hands and cheer God / God ascends rejoicing and the Lord is accompanied by trumpets

This inscription was perhaps placed in this place to dispel death and also other fears. For when Christ the Lord rises, we also rise. St. Augustine, in the third discourse on the Resurrection, says that all the miracles God has performed in this world benefit us in our frailty. For he has brought about the condition of man through the stars, and through faith in Heaven you can endure it, as he has shown. And then, through the victory over death, he has raised himself to Heaven, and through this he shows that they can follow.

Therefore, writes St. Leo in the third discourse on the Resurrection of the Lord, Christ’s Resurrection is our salvation. And if you understand his glorious ascension, his hope and his body is called, we would rejoice, so we are pleased with pious gratitude.

Let this refined building and the even better construction be recorded and the interior of this building, which we will place before our eyes, can stand next to the vowed Andrea Pozzo of the Jesuit Order.