The Fountain of the Pantheon, located in the Piazza della Rotonda in Rome, is an elegant Baroque fountain designed by Giacomo Della Porta and sculpted by Filippo Barigioni. The central element of the fountain features an ancient Egyptian obelisk surmounted by a dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, and four dolphins. The fountain complements the grandeur of the Pantheon and serves as a charming element in the historic square.
The Fountain of the Pantheon, also known as Fontana del Pantheon, is a captivating Baroque fountain in the heart of Rome, in the Piazza della Rotonda, just before the iconic Pantheon. Its history spans centuries, marked by the contributions of notable architects and sculptors.
The fountain was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575 as part of an urban renewal project around the Pantheon. The initial design was entrusted to Giacomo Della Porta, a skilled Renaissance architect and sculptor. Della Porta’s original design included a simple basin with an ancient Egyptian obelisk, the Macuteo Obelisk, placed in the center. This obelisk had previously adorned the Circus of Maxentius.
Upon the death of Pope Gregory XIII in 1585, the fountain was completed and overseen by Pope Gregory XIV. In its early form, the fountain featured the obelisk rising from the basin’s center, representing a fusion of ancient Egyptian and Christian symbolism. The obelisk symbolized the triumph of Christianity over paganism.
In the early 18th century, the Fountain of the Pantheon underwent significant modifications under the patronage of Pope Clement XI. Filippo Barigioni, an accomplished Italian sculptor, executed the additions. Barigioni’s enhancements included the construction of a large marble basin adorned with four dolphin sculptures supporting the obelisk. The dolphins, the obelisk, and other elements added a layer of symbolic significance to the fountain.
The Fountain of the Pantheon is a harmonious blend of ancient and Baroque elements, reflecting the evolution of artistic styles over time. Its location in the historic Piazza della Rotonda, surrounded by the architectural marvel of the Pantheon, makes it a captivating testament to Rome’s rich cultural and artistic heritage. The fountain remains a focal point for locals and visitors, drawing admiration for its elegance and symbolic resonance.
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Author: Kate Zusmann
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