Triton Fountain

Fountain

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Bernini's baroque Triton Fountain (Italian Fontana del Tritone) is located in Piazza Barberini, Rome, near the entrance to the Palazzo Barberini (now housing the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica), which Bernini helped redesign for his patron Maffeo Barberini, who had become pope as Urban VIII. It is a few blocks from Borromini's San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. In the fountain, which Bernini executed of travertine in 1642–43, an over-lifesize muscular Triton, a minor sea god of ancient Greco-Roman legend, is depicted as a merman kneeling on an opened scallop shell. He throws back his head to raise a conch to his lips: from it a jet of water spurts, formerly rising dramatically higher than it does today. The fountain has a base of four dolphins[1] that entwine the papal tiara with crossed keys and the heraldic Barberini bees in their scaly tails. The Tritone, first of Bernini's fountains, was erected to provide water from the Acqua Felice aqueduct, which Urban had restored, in a dramatic celebration. It was Bernini's last major commission from his great patron, who died in 1644.

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