Saturday, December 28, 2013



1642/43 Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for Urban VIII Barberini (1623/44)
Originally the pressure of the water was stronger and it used to generate a much higher jet than now
Until the end of 1700s, in front of this fountain a macabre spectacle used to take place: the dead bodies of unknown people found in Rome were exposed and a crier would call on the population to recognize them
“He completely abandoned the previous formal treatment. Very far from the elegance of decorative Florentine fountain, this massive structure puts the viewer in front of a full scale sculpture as a natural product. The god of the sea, conch and fish are welded into an organic whole and no one can help but be captivated by the atmosphere of such a fabulous setting” (Rudolf Wittkower)
“The Merman was a symbol of immortality gained through literary studies. This esoteric symbolism is probably connected with the papal coat of arms in the huge tails of the dolphins. Everyone knew that Urban VIII was a good Latin poet, and so the Merman seems to proclaim his poetical immortality. The image is perhaps even more complex because the dolphins were symbols of princely benevolence and the bees of divine providence” (Howard Hibbard)

No comments:

Post a Comment