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Triton Fountain Of Rome

Apr 14, 2008
Triton Fountain History and Construction

His patron Pope Urban VII granted Gian Lorenzo Bernini the commission for the execution of this famous water fountain in 1642. Bernini was the greatest sculptor of the Baroque period. His inspiration for the water fountain was to be a triumphant passage concerning Triton, from Ovid's Metamorphoses book. Placement would be outside the Piazza Barberini, which was the Urban's family palace.

This was to be Bernini's first water fountain design and would provide a practical as well as esthetic purpose. Following a spectacular salute to the completion of the restoration of Acqua Felice aqueduct, the fountain would be used to provide the aqueduct water to the people. Bernini designed the fountain in 1643. It was to be his final major composition commissioned by Urban.

Fountain Design and Visual Specifics

Travertine was the natural rock material utilized by Bernini. The water fountain design includes a circular pool of water representing the ocean. The history behind the design is King Neptune has calmed the ocean before he summons Triton. Four highly detailed dolphin sculptures with open mouths rise from the ocean and tangle their tails upward. As a tribute to his patron, Bernini carved a pictogram of papal insignia and coat of arms is intertwined in the tails. Suspended on the dolphin tails is a giant oyster shell, which holds Triton. Learn more about the Triton Fountain of Rome and others by visiting http://www.garden-fountains.com/fountains-of-rome/roman-water-fountains-home.htm.

Bernini designed the fountain with an oversized, muscular, wet-bearded Triton, the minor sea god of Greco-Roman legend, and is depicted as a merman with a great scaly tail. Triton is kneeling within the open oyster shell. He throws back his head to quench his thirst with the stream of water falling from a shell held to his lips.

The actual passage from metamorphoses has Triton blowing into the shell to sound a retreat to the waters of the flood. This passage is beautifully symbolized through the use of water, its power and force in this stunning water fountain. And thus, the flood recedes and the world returns.

The Water Fountain Configuration

Bernini used the course the water followed to express power and passion. The water takes several paths before ending its journey into the circular pool below. To accomplish this he designed the water take a number of courses prior to ending its journey into the spherical pool underneath. First the water bursts from a jet high above a shell tipped to quench the thirst of the sea god. The water overflows the shell and onto the body of Triton prior to splashing onto the enormous shell on which the god is positioned. The excess water percolates over the edges of the shell and downward into the pool below making this one of Bernini's most classic Roman fountain designs. Get more decorating ideas incorporating a fountain with your decor at http://www.garden-fountains.com

Triton Water Fountain Trivia

The Triton fountain is the earliest metropolitan demonstration of an element that was commonly used in private gardens and villas. Previously, a civic Roman fountain was a public receptacle for water. The water fountain was used as a municipal mortuary where bodies of the unknown dead were left on exhibit. A town crier would ask the people to come and identify the bodies. This practice ceased by beginning of the 19th century. The jet of water issuing from the summit of the water fountain used to shoot considerably higher than it does today.
About the Author
Elizabeth Jean is a writer, gardening enthusiast and frequent contributor to Garden-Fountains.com, a premier water feature web site where you can find a beautiful collection of indoor and outdoor wall fountains, waterfalls and garden statuary.
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