A Fabulous Example of Roman Know-How: The Santa Maria in Cosmedin Water Fountain

Archaeologists and restorers on the lookout for pagan and Christian antiquities in Rome have stumbled upon a treasure trove of them in the area of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. p-594-p-593__95702.jpg Found in the portico of the nearby basilica one can find the acclaimed marble sculpture known as the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth). Due to the fact that the Santa Maria in Cosmedin fountain (1719) was located off the beaten track, it remained relatively obscure. The part of town where it was situated was depressing and uninviting which was enough to keep visitors away. It was a this time that Pope Clement XI commissioned the Italian architect Carlo Bizzaccheri to put up a water fountain to refurbish the square outside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. August 11, 1717 marked the date when construction on the church’s foundation began. After blessing of the first stone, medallions bearing the images of the Blessed Virgin, for whom the church is named, and of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water, were thrown into the foundation.

Roman Wall Fountains: Michelangelo’s Masterpieces

The 16th century saw the creation of the first Roman wall fountains, the works of two celebrated Florentine sculptures, Michelangelo and Ammannati. In 1536 Michelangelo’s first fountain in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, part of the façade of the Palazzo Senatorio, was unveiled. Constructed some years later, a conduit from the Aqua Felice was added which brought water into the Capitol allowing a greater water display. Styled on the late Cinquecento, Michelangelo built a larger basin, anticipating the construction of the conduit.

Was the famed artist the inventor of the wall fountain? Italy’s fountains truly show the influence his designs had on the styles found there. The Fountain of the River Gods at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia 1, and the Fountain of the Mugnone set between flights of stairs on the main axis of the Villa Pratolino are further illustrations of this type of structure.

Michelangelo’s unique talent was put aside because he was forced to design fountains combining classical elements and a Roman style. The Florentine maestro was asked by Julius III (1550-1555) to design a one-of-a-kind fountain to be placed at the top of the passage of the Belvedere in the Vatican. The fountain was to be adorned with a marble depiction of Moses striking a stone from which water flowed. The option of the Moses figure was rejected, however, because of the time it would take to create it and was therefore replaced by an antique image of Cleopatra. A design by the well-known artist was thought to be too time-consuming, therefore, an ancient depiction placed above the fountain seemed to be a better option.

The Popularity of Water Fountains in Japanese Backyards

No Japanese garden is whole without a water feature.

Since Japanese water fountains are viewed as emblematic of physical and spiritual cleansing, they are often positioned in the doorway of buildings or shrines. Since water is meant to be the central point of a fountain, you will find that the designs are kept very simple.

You will also find many fountains that have spouts made of bamboo. The bamboo spout is placed over the basin, typically constructed of natural stones, and water trickles out. People usually make them seem weathered and worn, even when they are new. People want their fountain to seem as natural as possible, so they put plants, flowers, and stones around the fountain. To the owner of the fountain, it clearly is more than just nice decor.

An alternate approach is to find a stone fountain, set it on a bed of rock, and place live bamboo and pretty stones around it. Eventually moss begins to grow over the stones and cover them, and as that happens the area begins to look more and more like a natural part of the landscape.

Anyone who has an extensive space to work with can, of course, out in a much bigger water feature. Popular water feature enhancements are a koi pond or any sort of little pool, or even a wandering brook.

However, water does not need to be an element in a Japanese water fountain. Attractive rocks, sand, or gravel are good alternatives to actual water, as they can be used to represent the water. You can also assemble flat stones and place them close enough together that they look like water in motion.


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