1 July 2016 - Sofya Yunusova
Fountains have always held an irresistible fascination for us. They have combined practical functions with decorative beauty since the dawn of civilisation. Without doubt, Italy must be the best place in the world to delve into the wonders of this art. Just think of the majestic Trevi Fountain, located in the heart of the eternal city of Rome. Designed in a Rococo style by the architect Nicola Salvi, it was inaugurated in 1762.
The fountain is set against the backdrop of the façade of Palazzo Poli and we can see how the powerful figure of Oceanus, the god of all water, dominates the rocky landscape that develops around the fountain and represents the vastness and power of the sea. The second fountain we celebrate is also to be found in Rome, in Piazza Navona.
The Fountain of the Four Rivers is the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who set out to represent the four great rivers of the four continents known to man: the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube and the River Plate, which he represented with four imposing figures carved from white marble.
Another noteworthy sculptured fountain is without doubt the statue of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, which Cosimo de’ Medici commissioned from the sculptor Ammannati. It should be noted, however, that the bronze satyrs and fauns are the work of another artist, Ammannati’s rival, the great Flemish sculptor Giambologna who was also responsible for an undisputed sixteenth century masterpiece, the Neptune fountain in Bologna. Continuing our “rapid” journey, we cannot exclude the Fontana Maggiore in Perugia, which is delicately decorated with 50 low relief sculptures and statues by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, or, moving somewhat further south, the enchanting Pretoria Fountain, a fine example of Florentine renaissance art that was purchased by the Palermo Senate in 1581.