Early Crete & The Minoans: Water Features

During archaeological excavations on the island of Crete, a variety of varieties of conduits have been detected. These delivered water and eliminated it, including water from waste and deluges. The principle components utilized were stone or terracotta. When prepared from terracotta, they were generally in the format of canals and circular or rectangular conduits. The cone-like and U-shaped terracotta piping which were uncovered have not been detected in any other civilization. twf029-fl__71641.jpg Terracotta pipelines were installed underneath the floor surfaces at Knossos Palace and utilized to circulate water. The pipes also had other applications such as collecting water and diverting it to a main site for storing. Therefore, these pipelines had to be able to: Below ground Water Transportation: Originally this process seems to have been fashioned not quite for convenience but rather to supply water for certain individuals or rituals without it being seen. Quality Water Transportation: Many historians consider that these water lines were used to develop a different distribution system for the palace.

The First Public Garden Fountains recorded in Human History.

Water fountains were initially practical in purpose, used to convey water from rivers or creeks to cities and villages, providing the inhabitants with fresh water to drink, wash, and prepare food with. In the years before electrical power, the spray of fountains was powered by gravity alone, often using an aqueduct or water supply located far away in the surrounding mountains. The elegance and wonder of fountains make them ideal for historic monuments. Simple in design, the first water fountains did not appear much like present fountains. A stone basin, carved from rock, was the first fountain, used for containing water for drinking and ceremonial functions. Stone basins are believed to have been 1st used around 2,000 BC. The earliest civilizations that utilized fountains depended on gravity to force water through spigots. Situated near aqueducts or creeks, the practical public water fountains furnished the local population with fresh drinking water. The Romans began creating ornate fountains in 6 BC, most of which were bronze or stone masks of creatures and mythological representations. Water for the communal fountains of Rome was delivered to the city via a complex system of water aqueducts.

The Genius of Michelangelo’s Roman Wall Fountains

During the 16th century two renown Florentine sculptors by the names of Michelangelo and Ammannati made the first wall features in Rome. Michelangelo’s first fountain was unveiled in 1536 in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome and makes up part of the exterior of the Palazzo Senatorio.

A conduit from the Aqua Felice was built later and it brought water to the Capitol making a more impressive water effect possible. Styled on the late Cinquecento, Michelangelo built a larger basin, anticipating the construction of the conduit.

Did the creation of wall fountains begin with the famous sculptor? The sculptor’s designs absolutely influenced the future style of fountains in Italy. Today, this structural design is found at the Fountain of the River Gods at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia 1, and the Fountain of the Mugnone arranged among the stairs on the main axis of the Villa Pratolino.

Michelangelo’s unique talent was put aside because he was forced to design fountains combining classical elements and a Roman style. The Florentine master was instructed by Julius III (1550-1555) to design a one-of-a-kind fountain to be placed at the top of the passageway of the Belvedere in the Vatican. A marble Moses hitting the rock from which water flowed was to enhance the fountain. Unfortunately for the sculptor, this plan was turned down because it would take a lot of time to build and a traditional statue of Cleopatra was used instead. A design by the well-known artist was thought to be too time-consuming, therefore, an ancient sculpture placed above the fountain seemed to be a better choice.


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