GIAMBOLOGNA
(b. ca. 1524, Douai, d. 1608, Firenze)

Fountain of Neptune

1563-66
Bronze and marble, 335 cm (central figure)
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

The decorative fountain erected on the main square in Bologna is the first major work of the sculptor. Several models in clay and bronze record its evolution. With a vertical rather than horizontal emphasis, the format is pyramidal and architectonic. Consistent proportions and the use of bronze throughout create an unity. The fantastic lower figures allow the viewer's eyes to ascend to the Neptune, silhouetted against the sky depicted in a striding pose. His trident certifies his identity. Mermaids whose breasts spout water rise from the basin at the corners. Since the jets are integrated with all the figures, the play of water unifies the fountain, the most sophisticated in Italy and anticipatory, therefore, of the Baroque.