Roman Wall Fountains: Michelangelo’s Masterpieces

Two Florentine artists by the names of Michelangelo and Ammannati designed the first Roman wall fountains during the 16th century. 8411_0803__40057.jpg The first fountain Michelangelo made came in 1536 with the construction of the Campidoglio in Rome which was to be part of the Palazzo Senatorio's façade. Some years later, a more extravagant water display was made possible with the extension of the Aqua Felice into the Capitol. Styled on the late Cinquecento, Michelangelo built a larger basin, anticipating the construction of the conduit.

Was the reknowned sculptor the first to create wall fountains? His designs undoubtedly inspired the style of fountain which dominates throughout Italy. The styles seen at the Fountain of the River Gods at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia 1, and the Fountain of the Mugnone, set between the stairway on the main axis of the Villa Pratolino, represent other examples of this style.

It seemed to be Michelangelo’s predestination to combine classic Roman attributes into his fountains instead of using his own tremendous talents to design original pieces. A new fountain at the top of the Belvedere in the Vatican was authorized by Julius III (1550-1555) and it fell to the great sculptor to create an archetypal structure. The talented artist was asked to design a marble figure of Moses striking a stone from which water streamed forth. Rather than building the Moses statue, which would take too much time to finish, an antique figure of Cleopatra was used in its place, however. An ancient figure was thought to be quicker to put up over the fountain than the construction of a completely new statue by the famed artist.

Water Fountains: The Minoan Civilization

On the Greek island of Crete, excavations have unearthed channels of numerous varieties. In combination with providing water, they dispersed water that amassed from storms or waste material. Virtually all were prepared from terracotta or even stone. Terracotta was used for canals and pipes, both rectangular and spherical. There are two examples of Minoan terracotta pipes, those with a shortened cone form and a U-shape that have not been observed in any civilization since that time. Knossos Palace had an state-of-the-art plumbing network made of clay pipes which ran up to three meters under ground. The terracotta water lines were furthermore made use of for gathering and holding water. This required the clay pipes to be suitable for holding water without seepage. Subterranean Water Transportation: It’s not really known why the Minoans required to transfer water without it being spotted. Quality Water Transportation: There’s also proof which suggests the pipelines being made use of to provide for water features separately of the domestic process.

Where are the Planet's Biggest Water Showpieces?

Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the King Fahd Fountain (1985) is the highest continually-functioning fountain worldwide. It spouts out water reaching 260 meters (853 feet) above the Red Sea.

The Han-Gang River in Seoul, Korea (2002), comes in second with water heights of 202 meters (663 feet).

Located near the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, is third placed Gateway Geyser (1995). This fountain is considered the tallest in the U.S. with water reaching up to 192 meters (630 feet).

With water jetting 190 meters (620 feet) in the air, the Port Fountain in Karachi, Pakistan makes the list.

Number 4: Fountain Park (1970), Fountain Hills, Arizona - although it can reach heights of 171 meters (561 feet) when all three pumps are in use, it only reaches 91 meters (300 feet) on a normal day.

The Dubai Fountain opened in 2009 next to Burj Khalifa - the world's highest building. Once every 1/2 hour, this fountain begins dancing to pre-recorded musical themes while shooting water 73 meters (240 feet) high. It also has extreme shooters, rarely used, which go as high as 150 meters (490 feet).

Making it in the top 8 is the Captain James Cook Memorial Jet in Canberra (1970) which measures 147 meters (482 feet).

And at number 8, we have the the Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951), measuring 140 meters (460 feet).


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The last impressive fountain to make the list is the Jet d’Eau (1951) in Geneva, Switzerland, measuring 140 meters (460 feet). read more