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Statuette - Aesop


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    second quarter of 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tribolo, Niccolò, born 1500 - died 1550 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:

    2626:1, 2-1855

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bronze statuette is made by Niccolo Tribolò, in Florence in the second quarter of the 16th century.

The bronze represents Aesop, depicted as a hunchback dwarf holding a rod, and standing astride an owl. Italian sculptor, engineer and garden designer, who 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.

Tribolò worked (with a team of other sculptors) on the basilica of the Santa Casa at Loreto and in 1533 he completed Andrea Sansovino's marble high relief of the Marriage of the Virgin which began 1527 and he also helped Michelangelo to complete the Medici tombs in S Lorenzo.

Tribolò also worked around 12 years for Cosimo I in Florence and undertook an extraordinary wide array of works: decorations for state occasions, firework displays, theatrical costumes and décor as well as water conservation and other hydraulic projects. His most influential undertaking was the laying out of the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace in Florence.

Physical description

Aesop as a hunchback dwarf holding a rod, and standing astride an owl

Place of Origin

Florence (made)


second quarter of 16th century (made)


Tribolo, Niccolò, born 1500 - died 1550 (artist)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 31.62 cm, Width: 11.30 cm

Descriptive line

bronze statuette Aesop by Niccolo Tribolo, Florentine, between 1500-1550

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1855. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 104
Planiscig, Leo. Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, XIII, 1944, p.248.
Keutner, Herbert. "Der Giardino Pensile der Loggia dei Lanzi und seine Fontäne." In: Sonderdruck aus Kunstgeschichtliche Studien für Hans Kauffmann. Berlin : Verlag Mann, 1956, p. 251.
Bode, Wilhelm. The Italian Bronze Statuettes of the Renaissance. III, p.22
Ceppi, Claudia Beltramo, and Nicoletta Confuorto, Firenze e la Toscana dei Medici nell'Europa del Cinquecento, Milan: Electra, 1980.
Pope-Hennessy, John Wyndham and Santangelol Antonio. Italian Bronze Statuettes . London : Arts Council, 1961



Subjects depicted

Owl; Rod; Dwarf


Sculpture Collection

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