A Short History of Water Garden Fountains

s-265-pd-154__19506.jpg As initially conceived, fountains were designed to be functional, guiding water from streams or aqueducts to the citizens of towns and settlements, where the water could be utilized for cooking, washing, and drinking. To produce water flow through a fountain until the late 1800’s, and generate a jet of water, demanded gravity and a water source such as a spring or lake, positioned higher than the fountain. Inspirational and impressive, prominent water fountains have been built as memorials in many cultures. If you saw the 1st fountains, you would not identify them as fountains. Simple stone basins sculpted from local stone were the very first fountains, used for religious functions and drinking water. 2,000 BC is when the oldest identified stone fountain basins were originally used. The first civilizations that utilized fountains relied on gravity to force water through spigots. Located near aqueducts or creeks, the functional public water fountains supplied the local populace with fresh drinking water. The people of Rome began creating elaborate fountains in 6 B.C., most of which were bronze or stone masks of animals and mythological heroes. The City of Rome had an elaborate system of aqueducts that delivered the water for the countless fountains that were placed throughout the urban center.

Roman Wall Fountains: Michelangelo’s Masterpieces

Two Florentine masters by the names of Michelangelo and Ammannati created the earliest Roman wall fountains during the 16th century. Michelangelo’s first fountain was revealed in 1536 in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome and makes up part of the front of the Palazzo Senatorio.

Built some years later, a conduit from the Aqua Felice was added which brought water into the Capitol allowing a greater water display. Michelangelo, however, had predicted this which led to choice of a larger basin styled on the forms of the late Cinquecento.

Was the reknowned sculptor the earliest to create wall fountains? His designs undoubtedly affected the design of fountain which dominates throughout Italy. Further 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 set between flights of stairs on the central axis of the Villa Pratolino.

Rather than designing fountains based on his own brilliance, Michelangelo was doomed to integrating conventional elements into Roman-styled structures. An original wall fountain for the top of the passageway of the Belvedere in the Vatican was commissioned to the famed artist by Julius III (1550-1555). A marble Moses hitting the rock from which water flowed was to enhance the fountain. Rather than making the Moses statue, which would take too much time to complete, an antique figure of Cleopatra was used in its place, however. A design by the well-known artist was thought to be too time-consuming, therefore, an ancient figure placed above the fountain seemed to be a better choice.

Outdoor Fountains And Their Use In The Minoan Civilization

A variety of kinds of conduits have been discovered through archaeological digs on the isle of Crete, the cradle of Minoan society. These were applied to provide towns and cities with water as well as to minimize flooding and eliminate waste. Most were created from terracotta or rock. There were clay pipes, both circular and rectangular as well as canals made from the same components. These included cone-like and U-shaped terracotta conduits that were exclusive to the Minoans. Terracotta pipelines were laid under the floor surfaces at Knossos Palace and utilized to circulate water. The pipelines also had other uses including gathering water and channeling it to a central site for storage. Thus, these pipes had to be effective to: Below ground Water Transportation: This system’s invisible nature may suggest that it was initially created for some sort of ritual or to distribute water to limited communities. Quality Water Transportation: There’s also evidence that concludes the pipes being made use of to provide for fountains independently from the local system.


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