|The Cruxifiction Nicola Pisano|
The story of Renaissance sculpture begins with Nicola Pisano, who lived approximately between 1220 and 1284. He came from Apulia in the heel of Italy, but most of his working life was spent in Pisa, Bologna, Siena, Perugia and other central Italian towns. He was a product of the brilliant if precarious court culture created by Emperor Frederick II, knows as stupor mundi, of the Wonder of the World. Frederick build palatial castles in southern Italy, patronized artists and craftsmen of all kinds, imported ideas and technology from the eastern Mediterranean and the Orient and, not least, sought to revive classical forms. Pisano was clearly trained in one of the emperor's south Italian workshops, and he brought to Tuscany something new: the classical anxiety to represent the human body accurately, to show emotions not symbolically but as they are actually seen on human faces, to distinguish with infinite gradations between youth and age and to render men and women as living, breathing, individual creatures.
-Paul Johnson, The Renaissance: A Short History