Friday, January 3, 2014


1732/51 Nicola Salvi (1697/1751) for Clement XII Corsini (1730/40)
It was completed in the years 1751/62 by Giuseppe Pannini (about 1720/about 1810) (son of the painter Giovanni Paolo Pannini) after the death of Salvi in 1751
It is called "Trevi" maybe because it comes from an area formerly known as Trebium (country house) whose name has since disappeared or maybe because it is situated at the confluence of three roads (Trevio o Treio) the current Via Poli, Via Crociferi and Via delle Muratte
The water still comes from the AQUA VIRGO, the aqueduct built in 19 BC by Marcus Agrippa. The springs are at Salone, at the eighth mile of the Via Collatina towards Via Tiburtina, in the Ager Iucullanus between Rome and Tivoli
These springs are 20 km (12.4 miles) away and at a level of height above the fountain of just 6 meters (19 feet). There are no pumps, and water is driven only by force of gravity
It is the only one of the eleven ancient Roman aqueducts to have been always working with only short periods of closure
The aqueduct was restored by Hadrian I (772/795) and in 1453 by Leon Battista Alberti (1406/72) and Bernardo Rossellino (1409/64) for Pope Nicholas V Parentucelli (1447/55)
The great Renaissance architects embellished the old fountain located on the east side of the square (where now Via della Stamperia begins) in the style of their time
PROJECTS to modernize the fountain were entrusted to Giacomo della Porta (1533/1602), Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) and Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669), but they were never realized
The project by Bernini saw only the foundations completed and a basement. The Tomb of Cecilia Metella had been chosen by Urban VIII Barberini as the place from which building materials could have been taken to build the new fountain but fortunately the tomb was spared
Clement XI Albani (1700/21) restored the aqueduct in 1706, and Clement XII Corsini (1730/40) held a contest in 1732 which was won by Nicola Salvi out of 16 projects on display at the Quirinale Palace. The choice of Salvi was due to the insistence of Cardinal Neri Corsini, nephew of the pope, even though the Cement XII had also liked the project by Luigi Vanvitelli (1700/73)
It was inaugurated in 1744 by Benedict XIV Lambertini (1740/58), but it was only finally completed in 1762 for Clement XIII Rezzonico (1758/69) with all the sculptures
It occupies a whole façade of PALAZZO POLI formerly known as Palazzo Ceri
"It represents a perfect synthesis of architecture, sculpture and natural elements. The fundamental theme guiding the work of Salvi is the movement, the perpetual changing of things, of which water, by its very nature is a primary symbol. And the fountain is intensely animated in different parts: in the free-flowing and turbulent water flow, in the irregular shape of the cliff, in the groups of sculptures emerging from it. The magnificent architectural backdrop curtain is rooted in the cliff: Palladian in the lexicon, but rearranged in the articulation of its syntactic elements (see the crowning of the windows on the second order, which breaks the continuity of the cornice, or the free frieze in the attic) and vibrant in the chiaroscuro effect" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
"In the Trevi Fountain (...) the show of water finds its most complete and spectacular expression, from the blades of the central cylindrical cascade to the naturalistic configuration of the smaller bodies of water nested among the rocks, to the geometrical boundary of the basin, it is a continuous interplay of artifice and nature in which the travertine with its rough and chiaroscuro surfaces plays an important role as a mediator between marble's bright stillness and the vibrant race of the waters" (Paolo Portoghesi)
Group of "Ocean" on a shell chariot with "Two Mermen and two Winged Horses" executed at forst in stucco in 1741 by G.B. Maini (1690/1752) and later in marble in the years 1759/62 by Pietro Bracci (1700/73) who was given the task of finishing the work after the Maini's death
The two horses represent the sea respectively calm and rough and are provided with fins instead of hooves
"Bracci's Ocean a little frivolous, standing as a dancing teacher on a huge rockery shell is far from the spirit of the works of Bernini, as it is the picturesque character of the numerous rivulets, or the artificial union of conventional basins with natural rocks. However, the Trevi Fountain is the beautiful swan song of an era that owed all of his vital impulses to one great artist, Gian Lorenzo Bernini" (Rudolf Wittkower)
On the right "Health" 1759/62 and on the left "Wealth" 1759/62 by Filippo Della Valle (1698/1768)
"Very similar to the Temperance of the Corsini Chapel in San Giovanni in Laterano, even though they are a prelude to the incipient classicism for their greater simplicity and firmness of composition" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
On the right "Virgin indicating the location of the source to the Roman troops" by Andrea Bergondi (active in Rome XVIII century)
In the upper part FOUR ALLEGORICAL STATUES representing the seasons, carved in 1735, from left:
"Plenty of fruits" by Agostino Corsini (1688/1772)
"Fertility of fields" by Bernardino Ludovisi (about 1713/49)
"Gifts of Autumn" by Francesco Queirolo (1704/62) pupil of Antonio Corradini with whom worked in the amazing Cappella Sansevero in Naples
"Amenities of the meadows" by Bartolomeo Pincellotti (active since 1735/d. 1740) who also made the decoration of the cliff
CENTRAL INSCRIPTION with crest of Clement XII Corsini (1730/40) who commissioned the fountain and on the sides representations of "Fame" 1736 by Paolo Benaglia (?/1739)
The rococò elements of the fountain as the shell on which Ocean stands, for example, are entirely subordinate to a strong late baroque classic style that, despite the crowds and illegal vendors always present, never fails to fascinate and amaze
On the right of the fountain there is a large vase, known as "Asso di Coppe" (Ace of Cups), because it looks like one of the card of this suit. It is said to have been placed there by Salvi to prevent the sight of the fountain to a barber who was constantly criticizing his work from his shop
The tradition of throwing coins into the fountain hoping to return to Rome is perhaps connected with the Roman tradition disappeared at the end of 1800 of the fontanella degli amanti (little fountain of lovers): when a young man had to leave Rome he was accompanied by his girlfriend to the Trevi Fountain to make him drink the water with a new glass which, after the ceremony, was broken. This meant a wish for eternal love
The money being thrown into the water every year by tourists (in 2005 about € 900,000 were collected) is given to the Caritas diocesiana, a registered charity institution of the Vatican. They use it for charitable activities including a supermarket where homeless people can get food for free

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