The Fountain of the Four Rivers, created between 1648 and 1651 and commissioned by Pope Innocent X, is Bernini’s largest and most celebrated fountain. He was asked to erect a monument sufficiently large enough to emphasize the center of the square without upsetting its unity. “At the same time, the fountain – not axially related to the façade of S. Agnese – had to be attuned to the Baroque church that had been planned for the area, but not yet erected”. The difficulty of the assignment itself was daunting, yet Bernini managed to execute a fountain that not only complemented its location, but also captured attention as a monument in and of itself, speaking with eloquence and grace regarding the new ideas of his age. Although the fountain was actually executed by a large group of co-workers who worked under Bernini’s direct supervision, existing sketches provide proof that the idea and the design are definitely Bernini’s. In recognition of the Age of Exploration that characterized this entire time period, the fountain represents the four continents that were identified in Bernini’s time, which were Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas, via the four major rivers that were associated with each of these continents – the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and the Rio della Plata respectively. The continents are represented by a different figure at each of the cardinal points of the fountain with significance attached to the direction they face helping viewers to identify the continent being represented.
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The essay "Humanities Baroque Period or Italian Reinassance or Northern Reinassance" discovers Bernini and the Fountain of the Four Rivers. The Fountain of the Four Rivers, created between 1648 and 1651 and commissioned by Pope Innocent X, is Bernini’s largest fountain. …
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