Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion
Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion
Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion

Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers Lion

  • This bronze was modeled after one of the most important works of Baroque artistry ever created
  • It is based on the lion from Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers
  • The present bronze closely replicates the original terracotta model by Bernini's own hand
  • It is one of only three bronze reductions known, another of which was made for the King of Spain
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Item No. 30-7606
$74,500
description
specifications
description
The original Roman sculpture after which this remarkable bronze was modeled is unquestionably one of the most important works of Baroque artistry ever created. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or Fountain of the Four Rivers, was executed by the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) between 1648 and 1651 as a special commission by Pope Innocent X. The result was his largest - and perhaps his greatest - achievement. Dominating the famed Piazza Navona in Rome, the fountain is among the most sensational creations ever made, and still stands to this day. This extraordinary Italian bronze, based on the lion in Bernini's final creation, embodies all of the hallmarks of his bold and theatrical style.

Bernini's liveliest works offer profound insight into the artist's creative mind, and the present bronze is no exception. The piece is based on the original preparatory terracotta model of the lion molded by Bernini's own hand, which is currently found in the collection of the Galleria dell'Accademia di San Luca (Rome). The lion - undoubtedly one of the most famous lions in the world - was one of seven animals destined for the famed fountain - a horse, a sea monster, a serpent, a dolphin, a crocodile and a dragon are also included in the monumental design.

As a whole, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi presents a stunning allegory for the gods of the great rivers of the four continents that were then recognized by geographers: the Nile in Africa, the Ganges in Asia, the Danube in Europe and the Río de la Plata in America. The god of the Nile, to whom the lion belongs, is further symbolized by a palm and blindfolded eyes, indicating that the river's source was still unknown. The astoundingly naturalistic lion laps at the pool in the travertine, while a 52-foot high obelisk looms over the feline's head. Crafted of granite, the ancient piece stands as a symbol of papal power.

Since its first unveiling, the imposing Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi has been considered one of the most important sights in Rome. It has inspired innumerable reductions and recreations in porcelain, silver, and marble throughout the centuries that followed. Among the most important of these was a luxurious miniature replica of his Fountain of the Four Rivers made by Bernini himself as a gift for the Spanish king, Charles II. The lion from that reduction was later removed and mounted on a porphyry base. Today, it can be found in the Royal Palace of Madrid.

The present version, possibly crafted by a member of Bernini's own workshop, unequivocally dates to the late 17th/early 18th century, and closely replicates the terracotta model by Bernini's own hand. This example is one of only two others known apart from Charles II's lion; another, later bronze is held in the collection of the famed Palazzo Sacchetti in Rome.

A similar bronze is pictured in Palazzo Sacchetti, 2003, by S. Schütze and E. Colle, while the nearly identical version made for the King of Spain is pictured in Barocco a Roma: La Meraviglia delle Arti, 2015, by M.G. Barnardini and M. Bussagli.

The bronze comes mounted on its Africano marble base.

6 1/2" high x 7 1/2" wide x 11 1/2" deep
specifications
Period: Other
Origin:Italy
Material:Bronze
Width:7 1/2 Inches
Height:6 1/2 Inches
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