17th-century baroque fountain in a public square, featuring a sea god surrounded by dolphins.
Fontana del Tritone is a seventeenth-century fountain in Rome, by the Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Commissioned by his patron, Pope Urban VIII, the fountain is located in the Piazza Barberini, near the entrance to the Palazzo Barberini that Bernini helped to design and construct for the Barberini, Urban’s family.
Begun and completed between the end of 1642 and the first half of 1643, the Triton fountain in Piazza Barberini is one of the masterpieces of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Author: Gian Lorenzo Bernini Date: 1642-1643 Materials: travertine Original power supply: Acquedotto Felice The artist was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644) to create the work as a “public ornament of the city” in the center of the square dominated by the new palace of his family.
Represented on the valves of a huge shell, with the erect torso and scaly legs of a sea monster, the Triton stands imposingly with its head bent back in an effort to blow into the large buccina (or twisted shell) that it supports with its arms raised upwards and from which the abundant water that irrigates the whole work comes out. Expression of the new Baroque conception of space, in the fountain the sculptural part includes and completely absorbs the same architectural structure: the shell on which the triton rests is in fact the upper basin of the fountain, and the baluster at the base is replaced by four dolphins with intertwined tails, between which are placed the papal coats of arms with bees, heraldic symbol of the Barberini family.
Bernini himself also designed a fountain for the use of wayfarers originally located on the square, on the corner with Via Sistina, known as Fontana delle Api (today at the beginning of Via Veneto). The Triton fountain has recently undergone various restoration works. The first, carried out in 1987-1988, was followed by extraordinary interventions in 1990, with subsequent maintenance in 1991-1992 and 1998. The last restoration work dates back to 2013.