Water Features
Bellingham Massachusetts

Contemporary Garden Decor: Outdoor Fountains and their Roots

A fountain, an amazing piece of engineering, not only supplies drinking water as it pours into a basin, it can also launch water high into the air for an extraordinary effect.

From the onset, outdoor fountains were simply there to serve as functional elements. Residents of cities, townships and small towns used them as a source of drinking water and a place to wash up, which meant that fountains needed to be linked to nearby aqueduct or spring. Until the late 19th, century most water fountains functioned using the force of gravity to allow water to flow or jet into the air, therefore, they needed a source of water such as a reservoir or aqueduct located higher than the fountain. Fountains were an optimal source of water, and also served to adorn living areas and celebrate the designer. Animals or heroes made of bronze or stone masks were often used by Romans to beautify their fountains. During the Middle Ages, Muslim and Moorish garden designers included fountains in their designs to mimic the gardens of paradise.Contemporary Garden Decor: Outdoor Fountains Roots 2479072229404673.jpg King Louis XIV of France wanted to illustrate his dominion over nature by including fountains in the Gardens of Versailles. The Romans of the 17th and 18th centuries created baroque decorative fountains to exalt the Popes who commissioned them as well as to mark the spot where the restored Roman aqueducts entered the city.

Indoor plumbing became the main source of water by the end of the 19th century thereby restricting urban fountains to mere decorative elements. Amazing water effects and recycled water were made possible by switching the force of gravity with mechanical pumps.

These days, fountains decorate public areas and are used to pay tribute to individuals or events and fill recreational and entertainment needs.

The Original Garden Fountain Designers

Multi-talented people, fountain designers from the 16th to the late 18th century typically served as architects, sculptors, artists, engineers and cultivated scholars all in one. Exemplifying the Renaissance skilled artist as a creative genius, Leonardo da Vinci performed as an inventor and scientific specialist. The forces of nature inspired him to research the properties and movement of water, and due to his curiosity, he carefully documented his observations in his now famed notebooks. Coupling imagination with hydraulic and gardening talent, early Italian water fountain designers transformed private villa settings into brilliant water displays complete with symbolic meaning and natural wonder. The humanist Pirro Ligorio, renowned for his virtuosity in archeology, architecture and garden design, delivered the vision behind the wonders in Tivoli. Well versed in humanistic themes and established technical texts, some other fountain designers were masterminding the phenomenal water marbles, water features and water pranks for the various lands near Florence.

Characteristics of Outdoor Sculpture in Archaic Greece

Characteristics Outdoor Sculpture Archaic Greece 14774576666905.jpg The first freestanding sculpture was designed by the Archaic Greeks, a distinguished success since until then the only carvings in existence were reliefs cut into walls and pillars. For the most part the statues, or kouros figures, were of young and attractive male or female (kore) Greeks. The kouroi were seen by the Greeks to represent beauty and were sculpted with one foot leading and an uncompromising firmness to their forward-facing poses; the male statues were always strapping, sinewy, and unclothed. Life-sized versions of the kouroi appeared beginning in 650 BC. The Archaic period was an extraordinary point of change for the Greeks as they grew into new forms of government, formed fresh expressions of art, and attained information of the people and cultures outside of Greece. Still these disagreements did not prevent the emergence of the Greek civilization. {History Outdoor Garden Fountains 75800617194.jpg

The History of Outdoor Garden Fountains

Pope Nicholas V, himself a learned man, reigned the Roman Catholic Church from 1397 to 1455 during which time he commissioned many translations of ancient classical Greek documents into Latin. Embellishing Rome and making it the worthy capital of the Christian world was at the core of his ambitions. At the behest of the Pope, the Aqua Vergine, a damaged aqueduct which had carried clean drinking water into Rome from eight miles away, was reconditioned starting in 1453. The ancient Roman tradition of marking the arrival point of an aqueduct with an magnificent celebratory fountain, also known as a mostra, was restored by Nicholas V. The architect Leon Battista Alberti was commissioned by the Pope to build a wall fountain where we now find the Trevi Fountain. The aqueduct he had refurbished included modifications and extensions which eventually enabled it to supply water to the Trevi Fountain as well as the famed baroque fountains in the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Navona.