Fountain of Neptune

Title: Fountain of Neptune
Artist: Bartolomeo Ammannati Location: Piazza della Signoria Florence, Italy.
Medium: Apuan marble
Date: 1575

The fountain was commissioned to built in honor of the marriage of the second Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco I De’ Medici to the Grand Duchess Johanna of Austria. The assignment of creating the fountain was given one of the most famous Renaissance sculptors at the time, Bartolommeo Bandinelli, but shortly after he had finished a model of the fountain died. The job of creating the fountain was quickly given to the sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati, a student of Michelangelo, and his personal assistant Giambologna.The 4.2-meter fountain was carved from specially chosen Apuan marble. In the main statue of the fountain Neptune is shown standing high on the octagonal base of the fountain fountain. The artists chose to represent the face of Neptune as a great figure from the history of Florence. Neptune’s face was carved to resemble Cosimo De’ Medici, one of the first dukes of Tuscany, who had always envisioned a monument to the roman god of the sea in the center of Florence. During his reign, Cosimo De’ Medici had great ambitions for turning Florence into a naval super power in the world. The pedestal of the fountain is decorated with the mythical figures of Scylla and Charybdis, two Greek sea monsters. The bronze statues which decorate the fountain are the work of Flemish artist, Jean de Boulogne. The fountain features bronze figures of river gods, smiling satyrs, marble sea horses emerging from the water and a giant sea shell.Story the fountain represents:

The Fountain of Neptune in Florence represents several stories from both Greek and Roman mythology. The main figure in the fountain is Neptune the god of the sea in Roman mythology. Stories of Neptune closely resemble the stories of Poseidon in Greek mythology. Neptune is the brother of Pluto and Jupiter and together the three rule over the world divided into three major areas, Heaven, Earth and the Netherigions Neptune was associated with horses because they were thought to pull his chariot . Thus, Neptune was also the considered the god of horse racing.

Story of the fountain:

Over its history the fountain has had a rather interesting life full of vandalism and abuse. Being that it is located in one of the busiest piazzas in Florence the fountain has received more than its fair share of damage from the people. The fountain was not appreciated by the people of Florence at first and so the basin of the fountain was used to wash clothes for many years. This mistreatment caused a lot of damage to the marble of the fountain. On 25th January 1580 the first recorded vandalism of the statue occurred. All the decorations, except the four bronze figures and their satyrs, were badly damaged or destroyed. Then In 1830 during a carnival a group of masked men stole a bronze satyr which was later replaced by another which was sculpted by Giovanni Pazzi. The fountain was damaged by Bourbon bombardments in 1848 and in 1981 the front hooves of one of Neptune’s chariot pulling horses were snapped off. Then 1986 and 1989 the hooves of the horses were once again broken off after being repaired. Several years later a young boy climbed the Fountain of Neptune one early morning and managed to break off Neptune’s right hand and his trident. All was caught on security cameras. This action resulted in 30 pieces Neptune and shell needing to be restored Finally, in 2005 vandals once again scaled the 4. 2 metre statue breaking off the hand and trident. After hearing all the damage the fountain has sustained over the years it may help to know that the statue of Neptune is a copy of the original and was made in the 19th century. The original is safe and sound inside the National Museum.




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