A Real Roman Masterpiece: The Santa Maria Fountain in Cosmedin

ft_157__98207.jpg Archaeologists and restorers alike have stumbled upon a treasure trove of pagan and Christian artifacts on the grounds of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. The nearby basilica is mainly famous for the marble sculpture known as the Bocca della Verità, (Mouth of Truth) located in its portico. Built in 1719, the Santa Maria in Cosmedin water fountain was relatively unknown and located far from sight making it hard to visit. For the most part, people stayed away from the area because it was a drab and desolate part of the city. As part of a project to modernize the square outside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, the Italian architect Carlo Bizzaccheri was instructed by Pope Clement XI to design a fountain. August 11, 1717 saw the start of the work to put down the foundation of the church. The consecration of the first rock to be placed in the foundation was followed by medals being tossed in bearing the images of the Blessed Virgin, for whom the church is named, and St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water.

Roman Water Fountains: Michelangelo’s Masterpieces

Michelangelo and Ammannati, two famed Florentine maestros, crafted the first Roman wall fountains during the 16th century. The earliest fountain Michelangelo made came in 1536 with the building of the Campidoglio in Rome which was to be part of the Palazzo Senatorio's façade. The development of a conduit from the Aqua Felice to the Capitol, which allowed for a more impressive water display, was included years later. Michelangelo had anticipated this, however, and added a bigger basin styled on the art of the late Cinquecento.

The question remains as to whether the celebrated sculptor was the earliest to design wall fountains. The maestro's designs definitely influenced the future style of fountains in Italy. The Fountain of the River Gods at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia 1, and the Fountain of the Mugnone arranged between flights of stairs on the main axis of the Villa Pratolino are further illustrations of this type of structure.

Michelangelo’s great talent was put aside because he was forced to design fountains combining classical elements and a Roman style. A brand-new fountain at the top of the Belvedere in the Vatican was commissioned by Julius III (1550-1555) and it fell to the talented sculptor to design an archetypal structure. A marble Moses striking the rock from which water flowed was to adorn the fountain. Unfortunately for the sculptor, this idea was denied because it would take a lot of time to build and a traditional statue of Cleopatra was used instead. Creating a new design by the famed sculptor was considered more complicated than placing an ancient figure above the fountain.

The First Water Garden Fountains recorded in Human History.

The water from springs and other sources was originally delivered to the inhabitants of nearby towns and cities through water fountains, whose purpose was mainly practical, not aesthetic.

A source of water higher in elevation than the fountain was needed to pressurize the movement and send water spraying from the fountain's spout, a technology without equal until the later half of the nineteenth century. Striking and spectacular, prominent water fountains have been constructed as memorials in most cultures. Crude in style, the first water fountains didn't look much like modern-day fountains. A stone basin, crafted from rock, was the very first fountain, utilized for containing water for drinking and religious purposes. 2,000 B.C. is when the earliest identified stone fountain basins were originally used. The very first civilizations that made use of fountains relied on gravity to drive water through spigots. The placement of the fountains was determined by the water source, which is why you’ll usually find them along reservoirs, waterways, or streams. Creatures, Gods, and spectral figures dominated the early ornate Roman fountains, beginning to appear in about 6 BC. The Romans had an elaborate system of aqueducts that provided the water for the countless fountains that were placed throughout the city.


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