By Anne Leader

According to Giorgio Vasari, the Italian sculptor, engineer, and garden designer Niccolò Tribolo died on 7 September 1550 in Florence. Tribolo began his training under woodworker Giovanni d’Alesso d’Antonio and served as assistant to sculptor Jacopo Sansovino. His works show knowledge of both ancient and contemporary statues, especially the work of Michelangelo.

Tribolo worked in both relief and sculpture-in-the-round and designed several gardens for Medici properties, most notably the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace and the terraced garden and fountains at the Villa Castello in Rifredi. The Hercules and Antaeus fountain at Rifredi is recognized as the first Renaissance fountain complex, an art form that found great expression throughout the sixteenth century. These and other works have earned Tribolo fame as the father of the Italian Renaissance garden.

Reference: James Holderbaum. “Tribolo, Niccolò.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Nature, marble, c. 1528, Paris, Musée du Louvre; photo credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Giusto Utens, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens, 1599, formerly Museo di Firenze com’era, Florence

Fountain of Hercules and Antaeus, after 1536, bronze and marble, Villa Castello, Rifredi, Florence

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