BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo
(b. 1598, Napoli, d. 1680, Roma)

Model for the Fountain of the Four Rivers

c. 1650
Terracotta
Galleria Franchetti, Ca' d'Oro, Venice

Vibrant with energy, the model for the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona in Rome, depicts the River Nile. Here the veiled head alludes to the mystery of its source, but when the fountain was unveiled in Rome, it was humorously suggested that the figure was blindfolded to prevent it from seeing the nearby façade of Sant'Agnese in Agone by Francesco Borromini, Bernini's great rival.