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Intricate Pulpits: Stunning Examples of Religious Art

Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

More intricate, perhaps, than some sermons

A pulpit is a speaker’s stand in a church from where the sermon is read during a religious service. Over the centuries, stunningly intricate pulpits have been created in wood, marble and stone and are often beautifully adorned with some of the finest examples of the world’s religious art. This article takes a look at some of the more interesting pulpits from around the globe.

(left: Pulpit in Pistoia by Guido da Como, 1250, via; right: intricate bottom of the Belgian pulpit, via)

This artwork can be seen on the pulpit in St. Nicholas Church in Ghent in Belgium:

(image credit: docl)

Also from Belgium, this fabulous wooden carving created by Hendrik Frans Verbruggen in 1699, depicting Adam and Eve expelled from Eden, forms the pulpit in St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels:

(images credit: 1, 2, 3)

Here’s the stunning pulpit in St. Peter’s Church in Leuven in Belgium:

(images credit: Travlr)

Another wonderful carving, this time from Amsterdam:

(images credit: groenling)

This richly decorated pulpit situated in the wall is located in the Convent of Christ at Tomar in Portugal (left image)... on the right is the intricate pulpit from the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco:

(images via 1, 2)

These rather glum looking gentlemen can be seen on the pulpit in the Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in Vienna:

(images credit: sewaterman, 2)

At another St. Stephen’s, this one in Passau in Bavaria, you’ll find this splendid golden pulpit dating from 1726, featuring the four evangelists:

(image credit: gator2854)

In England, this pulpit can be seen in St Wilfred’s Church in Kibworth in Leicestershire (left image)... and another colourful pulpit, adorning the church of St. Edmund at Southwold in Suffolk (on the right):

(images credit: LeicesterPhoto, Suffolk Churches)

These almost playful looking golden angelic figures decorate the pulpit in the Church of St. Anne in Krakow in Poland (left image). Amiens Cathedral in France dates from the thirteenth century and the baroque pulpit dominates the nave. The pulpit comprises gilded wood and marble, with three female figures representing faith, hope and charity (right image):

(images via 1, 2)

This interesting little pulpit (done in a whimsical folk style) is in the church at Giske in Norway:

(image credit: Brian MacDonald)

This magnificent example is situated within the eleventh century Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Kalambaka in Thessaly, Greece:

(image credit: Hercules Milas)

The pulpit in Evreux Cathedral in Normandy dates from 1675:

(image via)

This grandiose pulpit with two staircases is situated in St. Sulpice in Paris, which is familiar to readers of The Da Vinci Code. The church also witnessed the baptism of the Marquis de Sade and the marriage of Victor Hugo (left image). In Notre Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg (right image), the pulpit created in the sixteenth century includes over fifty carved figures:

(image via)

Italy is a wonderful treasure house of religious artworks and the pulpit in the cathedral in Pisa is a true masterpiece of medieval sculpture. The elaborate pulpit was created between 1302 and 1310 and survived the fire of 1595, which destroyed much of the building’s medieval artwork. It was apparently put away for safekeeping during the restoration of the cathedral and not rediscovered until 1926. It is now located in a slightly different place than it was back in the Middle Ages and the original stairs no longer exist, but the pulpit nonetheless remains impressive.

(image credit: Bill Falk)

This similar looking pulpit is in the cathedral in Siena. On this one, the lions are depicted eating horses and sheep, which apparently symbolizes the Holy Church defeating and devouring paganism.

(images via 1, 2, BootsInTheOven)

No study of pulpits would be complete without a look at the Golden Pulpit itself, in Aachen Cathedral in Germany. Aachen is closely associated with the Emperor Charlemagne, but the Golden Pulpit dates from the reign of the Emperor Henry II and was completed around 1020. The pulpit is covered in gold and studded with precious objects and jewels:

(image via)

An extremely intricate stone carving can be seen on a pulpit in Dresden, Germany (a baroque masterpiece by the famous sculptor Balthasar Permoser):

(image credit: Trey Ratcliff)

Speaking of stone carving, this church in Esslingen-Am-Neckar, Germany, sports a beautiful example:

(image credit: Avi Abrams)



Simon Rose is the author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children, including The Alchemist's Portrait, The Sorcerer's Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, The Heretic's Tomb and The Doomsday Mask.



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Anonymous Jewels Vern said...

Exodus 20:25 - And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

Anonymous The Rat King said...

No one does ostentatious like a church. You just can't compare.

After all, it's not like they pay taxes or spend their money on anything. Well, except on gag orders for when their priests decide to get frisky with the 8 year olds.

Blogger Eliyahu said...

Sorry, Jewels, but these are pulpits; not altars. An altar is something on which sacrifices are made. Pulpits are used for long-winded sermons where the sacrifice is the time wasted by those listening to them. Further, if you study the rest of your bible, you'll find that the first and second Temples themselves, as well as the Tabernacle in the wilderness, were ornately decorated with gold and rich ornamentation.

Anonymous Caley said...

I wonder if the advent of 3d printing will bring back this level of complexity in architecture?

Anonymous Jewels Vern said...


Well, it's a good thing you're sorry, Eliyahu. I'll letcha live!



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