Fontana coll' Obelisco nel circo Agonale (Fontana dei Quatro Fiumi), c. 1837
After Gian Lorenzo Bernini's fountain including the antique Egyptian obelisque
Aquatint. 351 x 293 mm
Inventory number: E348
Works, relating to this work: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Fontana dei Quatro Fiumi, 1648-51, Piazza Navona, RomeEnlarge photo
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was the artistic genius overshadowed all others in the Rome of his day. His fountain in the Piazza Navona, symbolising four rivers, was made in 1648-51, commissioned by Pope Innocent the Tenth (1574-1655). The four figures in the fountain are allegories for the rivers Nile, Danube, Ganges and Plate and represent Africa, Europe, Asia and America. At the centre of the fountain there is an Egyptian obelisk that was brought to Rome by the Emperor Caracalla (188-217 BC).
Antonio Aquaroni has endowed the obelisk at the centre of the fountain with one side in deep shade. “Scenograficamente” is the word employed by Aquaroni in a letter presumably written after 15.3.1837 to explain his series of views of 24 of the fountains of Rome. He writes that he has been keen to work with perspective and with shade so that the view might also appeal to those he calls dilettantes – those who were without any understanding of art and those who were visiting Rome as tourists etc. The striking shadow draws a great deal of attention to the obelisk, making it easier to discover how the obelisk both stands as a reflection and a contrast to the facade of the S. Agnese church in the background. The shadow also establishes spatial depth.