Crowned Head

Medieval (Gothic)
late 13th century
Follower of Nicola Pisano (Italian (Tuscany), about 1220/25–before 1284)

Object Place: Europe, Italy


10.48 x 7.6 x 9.5 cm (4 1/8 x 3 x 3 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; alabaster

On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





This small head probably came from a relief panel with a scene such as that of the three kings worshiping the infant Jesus. A softer stone than marble, alabaster allows for intricate, delicate carving on a small scale. The sculptor used a drill to create the curls in the hair and beard of this figure, and he carved the eyes and mouth with great subtlety to achieve an animated expression.


13th century, made as part of an unidentified sculptural ensemble [see note 1]. 1936, Jacques Cohen, New York; April 22, 1936, sold by Cohen to Joseph Brummer (b. 1883 - d. 1947), New York (stock no. N3889); 1947, sold by Brummer to the MFA for $1200. (Accession Date: November 13, 1947)

[1] The origins of the MFA Crowned Head, evidently removed from a larger ensemble, remain unclear. Christine Verzar and Charles T. Little have noted that it is "the same size and style of the body of a now-headless king on the lintel by Nicola Pisano at the cathedral of Lucca." However, this has not been verified. See their essay, "Gothic Italy: Reflections of Antiquity," in Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture (exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007), 150, n. 2.

Credit Line

Charles Amos Cummings Fund