A Brief History of Garden Fountains

The water from springs and other sources was initially delivered to the citizens of nearby towns and cities through water fountains, whose purpose was mainly practical, not aesthetic. In the years before electrical power, the spray of fountains was driven by gravity only, usually using an aqueduct or water resource located far away in the nearby mountains. The elegance and wonder of fountains make them appropriate for traditional monuments. The contemporary fountains of today bear little resemblance to the very first water fountains. The very first recognized water fountain was a natural stone basin carved that served as a receptacle for drinking water and ceremonial functions. 50720cop__05467.jpg Natural stone basins are theorized to have been first used around 2,000 BC. The very first civilizations that utilized fountains relied on gravity to force water through spigots. These historic fountains were created to be functional, frequently situated along reservoirs, streams and rivers to provide drinking water. Fountains with ornate decoration began to show up in Rome in approx. 6 B.C., normally gods and animals, made with natural stone or copper-base alloy. The people of Rome had an intricate system of aqueducts that furnished the water for the countless fountains that were located throughout the urban center.

Ancient Crete & The Minoans: Water Features

A variety of sorts of conduits have been unveiled through archaeological digs on the isle of Crete, the cradle of Minoan society. Along with delivering water, they spread out water which amassed from deluges or waste material. They were for the most part constructed from clay or rock. There were clay pipelines, both circular and rectangular as well as pathways made from the same materials. There are two examples of Minoan terracotta pipes, those with a shortened cone shape and a U-shape that haven’t been caught in any civilization ever since. Terracotta conduits were used to circulate water at Knossos Palace, running up to three meters under the floors. The pipelines also had other uses including amassing water and diverting it to a centralized site for storage. This required the clay conduits to be capable of holding water without losing it. Underground Water Transportation: This hidden system for water circulation could possibly have been utilized to provide water to particular individuals or occasions.

Quality Water Transportation: The water pipes may furthermore have been utilized to move water to water fountains which were split from the city’s standard process.

Michelangelo’s Roman Water Fountains

Two Florentine artists by the names of Michelangelo and Ammannati created the first Roman wall fountains during the 16th century. The first fountain Michelangelo designed came in 1536 with the building of the Campidoglio in Rome which was to be part of the Palazzo Senatorio's façade. The construction of a conduit from the Aqua Felice to the Capitol, which allowed for a more beautiful water display, was included years later. Michelangelo, however, had predicted this which led to use of a larger basin styled on the forms of the late Cinquecento.

Was the well-known maestro the inventor of the wall fountain? His designs undoubtedly inspired the type of fountain which dominates throughout Italy. More examples of this sort of structure can be seen in the Fountain of the River Gods at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia 1, and the Fountain of the Mugnone which is found between flights of stairs on the central axis of the Villa Pratolino.

Sadly, Michelangelo was destined to put his own abilities aside and combine conventional elements into fountains based on Roman styles. An original wall fountain for the top of the passageway of the Belvedere in the Vatican was commissioned to the famed sculptor by Julius III (1550-1555). The fountain was to be adorned with a marble figure of Moses hitting a stone from which water flowed. Unfortunately for the sculptor, this plan was denied because it would take a lot of time to build and a traditional statue of Cleopatra was used instead. An ancient figure was thought to be quicker to erect over the fountain than the creation of a completely new statue by the famed artist.


Outdoor Fountains Lost to History
Villages and villages depended on practical water fountains to funnel water for preparing food, bathing, and cleaning from nearby sources like ponds, streams, or creeks. The force of gravity was the power supply of water fountains up until the... read more
Water Features Lost to History
Towns and communities relied on working water fountains to channel water for cooking, bathing, and cleaning up from nearby sources like ponds, channels, or creeks. In the years before... read more
Visit the World’s Tallest Water Fountains
And finally we have the Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951) which measures 140 meters (460 feet) in height. read more