Rome - Table of Contents.....................Architecture Around the World

Trevi Fountain
Rome, Italy

Architects:

Pietro da Cortona, Bernini, Nicola Salvi

Erected:

1732 - 1751

Style:

Baroque

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

2002 Daytime photos


Center bay: four engaged Corinthian columns surmounted by an attic with statues and balustrade.



Baroque balustrade



Statues in niches:
  • Left; Abundance by F. Valle
  • Center: Neptune who firmly guides a chariot drawn by two sea horses, known as the "agitated" horse and the "placid horse," names obviously derived from the way in which the two animals have been represented.
  • Salubrity, also by F. Valle
Reliefs:
  • Upper left: Agrippa Approving the Plans for the Aqueduct, by Andrea Bergondi
  • Upper right: Young Girl Showing Soldiers the Way, by G. B. Grossi.



Dentils ...  Bead-and-reel at bottom



 Engaged Corinthian column  and pilaster



Corinthian pilasters



Engaged Corinthian columns ... Coffered semidome ... Dentils



Relief: Young Girl Showing Soldiers the Way, by G. B. Grossi.



Travertine ... Dentils at top and bottom ... Corinthian column and pilasters ... Balustraded balconette


Triangular pedimented window, with Tuscan engaged columns  ... Balustraded balconette



Triton (a god of the sea, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, portrayed as having the head and trunk of a man and the tail of a fish) guiding Neptune's sea horse


Segmental and triangular pedimented windows, flanked by Corinthian style columns and pilasters ... Balconettes

2013 evening photos





Neptune



Triton (a god of the sea, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, portrayed as having the head and trunk of a man and the tail of a fish) guiding Neptune's sea horse


2013 night photos

A popular nightime meeting place - even in February 2013












It may or may not be the most beautiful fountain in Rome but it is without doubt the most famous (made even more famous by the nighttime wading of Anita Ekberg in Federico Fellini's film "La dolce Vita"). The imaginative concept, the theatrical composition, the sober and imposing beauty of the sculptured marble figures make it a true masterpiece both of sculpture and of architecture.

Pietro da Cortona and above all Bernini, who began the undertaking, both had a hand in the project. The death of Pope Urban VIII brought work to a standstill and it was not until about a hundred years later that Clement XII entrusted the work to Nicola Salvi, who finished the undertaking between 1732 and 1751.

A large niche at the center of the arch lends balance and symmetry to the whole ensemble. The central niche seems to impart movement to the imposing figure of Neptune who firmly guides a chariot drawn by sea horses, known as the "agitated" horse and the "placid horse," names obviously derived from the way in which the two animals have been represented. As they gallop over the water, the horses are guided in their course by fine figures of tritons which emerge from the water and which were sculptured by P. Bracci in 1762.

The setting all around consists of rocks. The Dukes of Poli's building serves as background to the fountain.

The fountain is the terminal part of the Vergine aqueduct built by Agrippa, a general of Augustus, in 19 B.C. to bring the water coming from the Salone springs, 19 km away, to Rome. Legend, illustrated in the fountain's upper panels, has it that it was a young girl who showed Agrippa's thirsty soldiers where a copious spring gushed forth. Hence the name of the aqueduct which, running underground for a long stretch, is the only one in Rome that has remained in use almost uninterruptedly from the time of its construction to the present day. This is the aqueduct that supplies the water to the monumental fountains of the historic center, from Piazza Navona to Piazza di Spagna.

The name "Trevi", on the other hand, allegedly derives from the word "Trivium," a meeting point of three streets that form this little widened area. It is truly surprising to see such a large fountain in such a small square, but the artist Nicola Salvi, who created it between 1732 and 1762, carefully studied the way to increase the sensation of marvel. Indeed, he set it almost entirely against the face of Palazzo Poli, preceding it with a little balconied scene, almost as if it were a theater!

Sources:

  • The Trevi Fountain (online 2002)
  • Trevi Fountain (online 2002)
  • "An Outline of European Architecture," by Nikolaus Pevsner. Pelican Books, 1975.
  • "Gardner's Art Through the Ages, Tenth Edition," by Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner. Harcourt Brace College Pub. 1996
  • "The Annotated Arch," by Carole Strickland. Pub. by Andrews McMeel


Photos and their arrangement 2002, 2013 Chuck LaChiusa
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