The Genius of Michelangelo’s Roman Wall Fountains

The 16th century saw the creation of the first Roman wall fountains, the products of two famed Florentine sculptures, Michelangelo and Ammannati. The fountain in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, which was completed in 1536 and became part of the façade of the Palazzo Senatorio, was Michelangelo’s first design. ft-315__79261.jpg The building of a conduit from the Aqua Felice to the Capitol, which allowed for a more beautiful water display, was included years later. Anticipating this, Michelangelo had added a more sizable basin styled on the late Cinquecento.

The question remains as to whether the famed maestro was the earliest to design wall fountains. The fountain styles found in Italy certainly show the influence of his designs. Today, this structural style 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 principal axis of the Villa Pratolino.

Rather than creating fountains based on his own brilliance, Michelangelo was doomed to integrating traditional elements into Roman-styled structures. Julius III (1550-1555) decided to have a fountain constructed at the top of the Belvedere in the Vatican and commissioned the Florentine genius to design a one-of-a-kind wall fountain. A marble Moses hitting the rock from which water flowed was to decorate the fountain. Rather than building the Moses sculpture, 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 simpler to erect over the fountain than the construction of a completely new statue by the famed artist.

The Globe's Most Amazing Fountains

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has the highest continuously- running fountain known as the King Fahd Fountain (1985). The water here jets up to a height of 260 meters (853 feet) above the Red Sea.

The Han-Gang River in Seoul, Korea (2002), comes in 2nd with water levels of 202 meters (663 feet).

Located near the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, is 3rd placed Gateway Geyser (1995). Considered the tallest fountain in the United States, it propels water 192 meters (630 feet) into the sky.

The next on the list is Port Fountain located in Karachi, Pakistan which rockets water 190 meters (620 feet) into the heavens.

Number 4 is Water at Fountain Park (1970) situated in Fountain Hills, Arizona - it can reach up to 171 meters (561 feet) when all three pumps are working, even though it typically only hits up to 91 meters (300 feet).

The Dubai Fountain, opened to the public in 2009, is located near the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It performs every 1/2 hour to previously recorded songs and shoots water up to 73 meters (240 feet) in height -it also has built in extreme shooters, though only used during special events, which reach 150 meters (490 feet) in height.

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

And finally comes the Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951) which measures 140 meters (460 feet) in height.

The Purpose of Water Elements in Japanese Gardens

You will never see a Japanese garden that does not have a water feature. You will often see Japanese water fountains in the doorway of a temple or home due to the fact that they are thought to be symbolic of physical and spiritual cleansing. It is unusual to see extravagantly-designed Japanese fountains since the emphasis is supposed to be on the water itself.

Many people also opt for a water fountain that features a bamboo spout. The water passes through the bamboo spout and accumulates in the stone basin underneath. It ought to have a worn-down, weathered feel as well. It is essential that the overall look of the fountain goes with the natural setting, so people typically place plants, rocks, and flowers around it. Clearly this fountain is much more than merely a beautiful add-on.

For something a bit more distinctive, start with a bed of gravel, add a stone fountain, and then decorate it artistically with live bamboo and other natural elements. Over the years it starts to really blend into the surrounding nature as moss covers the stone.

Wherever there is plenty of open space, you have the possibility to build a more extensive water feature. Popular water feature enhancements are a koi pond or any sort of little pool, or even a wandering brook.

Japanese fountains, however, do not actually need to have water in them. Many people decide to represent water with sand, gravel, or rocks rather than putting in actual water. Natural rocks that are smooth and laid out tightly together can be used to give the illusion of running water.


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