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:
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:
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:
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):
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):
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:
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.
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:
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