FOUNTAIN OF THE FOUR RIVERS

Audio File length: 3.01
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

The queen of the square, in the center, is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or Fountain of the Four Rivers, an extraordinary work by Bernini. He also sculpted the powerful statue of the Moro, while the tritons and masks are nineteenth-century copies of those of the late 1500s which have since been transported to Villa Borghese's gardens.

As I mentioned, the Fountain of the Four Rivers is one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome. As can be seen by his various drawings and wooden and terracotta sketches, Bernini took a long time to create this sensational masterpiece. The fountain coincides with the years when Pope Innocent X Pamphili was in office, which is the only time that the great architect's shining career ran into a bit of bad luck. To regain the Pope's favor, Bernini succeeded in creating this astonishing work which almost seems to oppose the laws of physics. If you look closely at the slender, tall obelisk, it seems to be leaning... on nothing; that is, on the hollow part of the animated rock that forms the core of the complex. All around, among the rocks or near the pool, enjoy yourself cataloging the different types of animals and plants that form an imaginative encyclopedia of botany and zoology from the mid-1600s. Of course, the most impressive detail is the personifications of the four great rivers, which symbolize the then-known continents. The Danube is for Europe, the Ganges for Asia, the Nile for Africa, and the Rio de la Plata for the Americas, which, as you can see, also have the alleged somatic features of the inhabitants of their continents.

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