FOUNTAIN OF THE FOUR RIVERS
⛲️The fountain of the Four Rivers is the creation of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, who was a brilliant Baroque sculptor. According to his plan, a 16.5m high belisk should had to be surrounded by statues of deities of the largest rivers known at that time (one from each continent): the Ganges – Asia, the Danube – Europe, the Nile – Africa, Rio de La Plata – the Americas. The sculptures are made of white marble.
⛲️The obelisk itself with the image of Roman rulers dressed in Pharaoh’s robes is pseudo-Egyptian and was created under the Emperor Domitian. In 309 Maxentius dismantled it from the temple of Isis and Serapis at the Field of Mars to decorate his circus in the country estate. The Nile god is depicted with his head covered. Thus, Bernini pointed out that the source of the river at that time was unknown. Other river gods are depicted with open faces.
⛲️ A few meters from the fountain is the Church of St. Agnes, designed by an avid competitor and opponent of the sculptor – the architect Borromini. According to some reports, Bernini specifically depicted the figure of Rio de la Plata, which looks directly at the basilica, with a terrible expression on his face, hinting at the dissatisfaction with what he saw.
⛲️ In fact, the church was built much later. The funds for the construction of the fountain were raised thanks to a bread tax imposed by Pope Innocent X. Actively spreading rumors of enemies including Borromini said that due to an error in calculations, the fountain would never start.
⛲️ But what a surprise there was when after the blessing of the Pope, who came for the opening, the water jets scored from the sculpture. The architect had corrected his mistake in advance, which put his enemies in an embarrassing position. Bernini managed to outplay his main rival Borromini.
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