Sculpting Rome’s Waters: Bernini’s Monumental Fountains

Kerry Longbottom 

Fig. 1. Gianlorenzo Bernini, “Barcaccia,” 1627-1629, Rome, Piazza di Spagna (source — almostsummersky)

Bernini’s sculptural revolution included a series of public fountains that transformed the public spaces of Rome.  The large scale and auditory effects of these fountains heighten the theatrical effect Bernini is known for, while allowing them to interact with the audience in new ways.  With these fountains Bernini also experimented with the incorporation of water as a sculptural material, and ultimately changed the way Roman fountains were conceived and built.