Bernini's Public Fountains

There are countless famed Roman water features in its city center. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the greatest sculptors and artists of the 17th century planned, conceptualized and built virtually all of them. 115441_2901_art_2__61704.jpg Also a city builder, he had abilities as a fountain developer, and traces of his life's work are obvious throughout the streets of Rome. Eventually transferring to Rome to completely show their artwork, chiefly in the form of community water features, Bernini’s father, a renowned Florentine sculptor, mentored his young son. An exceptional worker, Bernin received encouragement and the patronage of popes and well known painters. At the beginning he was known for his sculptural skills. Most particularly in the Vatican, he used a base of knowledge in classic Greek architecture and melded it effortlessly with Roman marble. Though many artists had an impact on his work, Michelangelo had the most profound effect.

Water Fountains: Great for Your Pets

Wildlife and pets are by nature drawn to bird feeders and water fountains. Drinking, washing, and preening are some of the things birds need to do. Birds such as robins, thrushes, orioles, or warblers are normally attracted to the active water of fountains. Many flying creatures enjoy running water instead of still water, thus making such outdoor features much more appealing than bowl shaped birdbaths. Trickling fountains that splash around are audible from a distance, attracting even more birds.

Dogs are attracted to fountains because they provide refreshing water to drink. During the sweltering summer months, dogs and cats will be outside searching for fresh water. Fountains generally need little cleaning due to their constantly streaming water, whereas birdbaths need to be regularly serviced because they easily collect debris.

Short History of Fountains

You would be hard pressed to find a human settlement that didn’t feature an exterior water fountain, both sitting in the town square and placed into its local stories. Before we had sinks and faucets in our houses to give us water, people counted on these fountains when they required water for drinking, cooking, or cleaning. Townspeople are also attracted to the fountains for their delicate styles and flowing water, gathering there to participate in prayer or even to make wishes. When the village is under military encirclement, they could turn to the water fountains and during religious ceremonies, the dedicated could symbolically use the water to purify their bodies and souls. The Castalia fountain at Delphi is one popular example of the relevant part they place in the social lives of the local people.

The Origins Of Wall Fountains

A fountain, an incredible piece of engineering, not only supplies drinking water as it pours into a basin, it can also launch water high into the air for a noteworthy effect.

The main purpose of a fountain was originally strictly functional. People in cities, towns and villages received their drinking water, as well as water to bathe and wash, via aqueducts or springs nearby. Used until the nineteenth century, in order for fountains to flow or shoot up into the air, their source of water such as reservoirs or aqueducts, had to be higher than the water fountain in order to benefit from the power of gravity. Fountains were not only used as a water source for drinking water, but also to adorn homes and celebrate the artist who created it. Animals or heroes made of bronze or stone masks were often times utilized by Romans to beautify their fountains. Muslims and Moorish landscaping designers of the Middle Ages included fountains to re-create smaller versions of the gardens of paradise. King Louis XIV of France wanted to illustrate his dominion over nature by including fountains in the Gardens of Versailles. To mark the entrance of the restored Roman aqueducts, the Popes of the 17th and 18th centuries commissioned the building of baroque style fountains in the spot where the aqueducts entered the city of Rome

The end of the nineteenth century saw the rise in usage of indoor plumbing to supply drinking water, so urban fountains were relegated to strictly decorative elements. The introduction of special water effects and the recycling of water were 2 things made possible by swapping gravity with mechanical pumps.

Nowadays, fountains adorn public spaces and are used to honor individuals or events and fill recreational and entertainment needs.

The Intriguing Beginnings of the Water Wall Fountain

Hundreds of classic Greek records were translated into Latin under the authority of the scholarly Pope Nicholas V who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1397 to 1455. To further enhance his city's prestige, in 1453 he began to rebuild the Acqua Vergine, the damaged Roman waterway which previously provided clean drinking water to the city from eight miles away. He also made the decision to revive the Roman tradition of marking the terminal point of an aqueduct with a mostra, a grand commemorative public fountain. Pope Nicholas V commissioned designer Leon Battista Alberti to build a simple wall fountain where the Trevi Fountain is now situated. Thus, the first known wall fountain was born from the Pope's ambition to make Rome Christianity's capital and revitalize the city's drinking water supply.

Water Features Common in Japanese Gardens

No Japanese garden is finished without a water feature. Since Japanese water fountains are considered emblematic of physical and spiritual cleansing, they are often positioned in the doorway of buildings or shrines. Since water is the most essential element of any Japanese fountain, the design is normally simple.

You will also notice many fountains that have spouts made of bamboo. The water passes through the bamboo spout and collects in the stone basin below. It should have a worn-down, weathered feel as well. People want their fountain to appear as natural as possible, so they position plants, flowers, and stones around the fountain. Clearly this fountain is much more than merely a beautiful add-on.

If you want to get a bit more artistic, try a stone fountain enhanced with live bamboo and other natural elements placed on a bed of gravel. In time, as moss gradually covers the stones, it starts to look even more natural-looking.

If you are blessed enough to have a big piece of open land you can create a water feature that is much more elaborate.

Lots of people add a koi pond or a tiny stream as a final touch.

However, water does not need to be an addition in a Japanese water fountain. It is appropriate to use representations of water in place of real water, such as sand, rocks, or natural stones. You can also gather flat stones and position them close enough together that they look like water in motion.

The World’s Tallest Fountains

The King Fahd Fountain (built in 1985) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has the tallest consistently-running fountain on the planet. The water here shoots up to a height of 260 meters (853 feet) above the Red Sea.

The World Cup Fountain located in the Han-Gang River in Seoul, Korea (2002), comes in 2nd place with water shooting up 202 meters (663 feet).

The Gateway Geyser (1995) situated next to the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri is #3 on the list. Considered the highest fountain in the United States, it jets water 192 meters (630 feet) into the sky.

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

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

The Dubai Fountain was opened in 2009 next to Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building. It dances to pre-recorded music every half hour and propels water to the height of 73 meters (240 feet) - it also has extreme shooters which reach 150 meters (490 feet), though these are only used on special occasions.

Constructed in 1970, the Captain James Cook Memorial Jet in Canberra, Australia, comes in at #7 shooting water up to 147 meters (482 feet).

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


Short History of Fountains
Water Fountains have long held a role in culturals around the globe, serving as an important resource of drinking water and even appearing in folktales. Fountains provided... read more
Agrippa’s Splendid Water-lifting Gadget
In 1588, Agrippa’s water-lifting creation attracted the interest and admiration of Andrea Bacci but that turned out to be one of the final mentions of the gadget. It could perhaps be that... read more
"Primitive" Greek Art: Large Statuary
Archaic Greeks were renowned for creating the first freestanding statuary; up till then, most carvings were constructed out of walls and pillars as reliefs. ... read more
Modern Garden Decor: Garden Fountains and their Roots
A fountain, an amazing piece of engineering, not only supplies drinking water as it pours into a basin, it can also launch water high into the air for an extraordinary effect. The primary purpose of a fountain was originally strictly practical. ... read more