TRIBOLO, Niccolò
(b. 1500, Firenze, d. 1558, Firenze)


Italian sculptor, engineer and garden designer (originally Niccolò di Raffaello de' Pericoli, called Il Tribolo). He was apprenticed in Florence first as a wood-carver with Giovanni d'Alesso d'Antonio and then as a sculptor with Jacopo Sansovino, whom he continued to assist well into the second decade of the 16th century. Vasari listed many works (most now untraced) from Tribolo's youth, among which was his earliest fountain; an old terracotta copy (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) shows this unpretentious and slightly old-fashioned work to have featured two children and a spouting dolphin that foreshadow the blithe charm of his later masterpieces.

Tribolo was fully employed by Grand Duke Cosimo. He contributed the architectural framework of the rich funeral chapel of Cosimo's consort Eleonora di Toledo, rebuilt the old Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano, and apparently designed the new stables, and in the last year of his life laid out the first axial development of the Boboli Gardens behind Palazzo Pitti, where he oversaw construction of the amphitheatre before his premature death in 1550. In his gardens there and at the Medici villas La Petraia and Villa Castello, Tribolo is often credited as the father of the Italian garden.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.