The Original Outdoor Fountains of Human History

The water from springs and other sources was initially provided to the occupants of nearby towns and municipalities via water fountains, whose purpose was primarily practical, not aesthetic. To make water flow through a fountain until the late 1800’s, and generate a jet of water, demanded the force of gravity and a water source such as a creek or reservoir, positioned higher than the fountain. Striking and impressive, large water fountains have been constructed as monuments in many cultures. aq_78208__93962.jpg If you saw the earliest fountains, you wouldn't recognize them as fountains. Created for drinking water and ceremonial purposes, the very first fountains were simple carved stone basins. 2,000 BC is when the oldest identified stone fountain basins were used. The first civilizations that utilized fountains depended on gravity to drive water through spigots. Drinking water was delivered by public fountains, long before fountains became ornate public statues, as attractive as they are practical. Beasts, Gods, and religious figures dominated the initial decorative Roman fountains, beginning to appear in about 6 BC. The extraordinary aqueducts of Rome delivered water to the eye-catching public fountains, many of which you can go see today.

The Godfather Of Rome's Garden Water Fountains

There are many celebrated fountains in Rome’s city center. One of the greatest sculptors and artists of the 17th century, almost all of them were planned, conceived and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Also a city architect, he had abilities as a fountain designer, and records of his life's work are apparent throughout the avenues of Rome.

To completely reveal their artwork, mainly in the form of public water features and water fountains, Bernini's father, a celebrated Florentine sculptor, mentored his young son, and they eventually relocated in the City of Rome. An excellent employee, the young Bernini earned compliments and patronage of many popes and influential artists. At first he was well known for his sculpting skills. He used his knowledge and melded it seamlessly with Roman marble, most notably in the Vatican. Though many artists impacted his artistic endeavors, Michelangelo affected him the most.

Rome’s First Water Transport Systems

Rome’s first raised aqueduct, Aqua Anio Vetus, was built in 273 BC; before that, inhabitants residing at higher elevations had to rely on natural creeks for their water. When aqueducts or springs weren’t available, people dwelling at greater elevations turned to water pulled from underground or rainwater, which was made possible by wells and cisterns. Starting in the sixteenth century, a brand new method was introduced, using Acqua Vergine’s subterranean portions to generate water to Pincian Hill. Throughout the time of its initial construction, pozzi (or manholes) were located at set intervals along the aqueduct’s channel. Though they were originally manufactured to make it possible to support the aqueduct, Cardinal Marcello Crescenzi began using the manholes to gather water from the channel, commencing when he bought the property in 1543. Despite the fact that the cardinal also had a cistern to accumulate rainwater, it didn’t provide enough water. That is when he made the decision to create an access point to the aqueduct that ran below his property.

Water-raising System by Camillo Agrippa

Sadly, Agrippa’s wonderful plan for raising water wasn’t mentioned a great deal following 1588, when Andrea Bacci praised it openly. It may possibly have turned out to be dated once the Villa Medici was enabled to obtain water from the Acqua Felice, the early contemporary conduit, in 1592. Its utilization might have been limited but Camillo Agrippa’s innovation had a prominent place in history as the most impressive water-lifting device of its kind in Italy prior to the contemporary era. There might have been some other significant water-related works in Renaissance landscapes in the later part of the sixteenth century, such as fountains that played tunes, water caprices (or giochi d’acqua) and even scenographic water presentations, but none was powered by water which defied gravity.

Ancient Greece: The Roots of Garden Statue Design

Historically, the vast majority of sculptors were compensated by the temples to decorate the elaborate columns and archways with renderings of the gods, but as the era came to a close it became more accepted for sculptors to portray regular people as well simply because many Greeks had begun to think of their institution as superstitious rather than sacred. Sometimes, a depiction of affluent families' forefathers would be commissioned to be placed within huge familial burial tombs, and portraiture, which would be replicated by the Romans upon their conquering of Greek civilization, also became commonplace.

The use of sculpture and other art forms varied through the many years of The Greek Classical period, a duration of creative growth when the arts had more than one goal. Greek sculpture was a modern part of antiquity, whether the explanation was faith based fervor or aesthetic satisfaction, and its modern excellence may be what endears it to us now.


Water Transport Strategies in Ancient Rome
Previous to 273, when the first elevated aqueduct, Aqua Anio Vetus, was made in Rome, residents who resided on hillsides had to journey further down to collect their water from natural sources. When aqueducts... read more
Aqueducts: The Solution to Rome's Water Troubles
Previous to 273, when the first elevated aqueduct, Aqua Anio Vetus, was built in Roma, inhabitants who dwelled on hillsides had to travel even further down to gather their water from natural sources. During this time period, there were only 2 other systems capable of... read more
The Early Society: Fountains
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"Primitive" Greek Artwork: Large Statuary
The Archaic Greeks developed the 1st freestanding statuary, an impressive achievement as most sculptures up until then had been reliefs cut into walls and pillars. Younger, ideal... read more
The Earliest Public Water Fountains
Water fountains were originally practical in function, used to deliver water from canals or creeks to cities and hamlets, providing the residents with fresh... read more