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Artichoke Fountain - Fuente de la Alcachofa

Artichoke fountainThis fountain was built during the reign of king Carlos III. It is located in the Retiro Park, at Plaza de Honduras.

Before it was located at Plazuela de Anton Martin and then moved to Plaza de Atocha in 1880. Now there is a copy of this fountain, as they did not want to move it again.

Plaza de Atocha, the real name of the square is Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, was very popular in the XVIIIth century as many visitor entered the city through this place. There were two train stations, Mediodia and Delicias.Artichoke fountain

The fountain is made of granite and white stone. On the top is a bronze artichoke from which water flows down onto a cup made of leaves. Below are four children or cherubs located on a second cup with vegetal decoration inside.

The fountain was made in 1781 following a design by Ventura Rodriguez. The sculptors were made by Antonio Primo and Alfonso Giraldo Bergaz.

The plants symbolize life. The artichoke was a considered a ver healthy  vegetable and frequently used in Oriental decorations. Artichoke and pineapple look quite similar and both are considered as symbols of fertility. Water is also another symbol of fertility.

Artichoke fountainUnder the second cup, two  sculptures holding the coat of arms. One represents Triton, a god of the seas, half human half fish. He is Neptunus´son. He blew a conch in order to calm the waves. Triton can be represented as a man with a fish tail, but also with the bust like a horse.

Next to Triton is a Nereida, a nymph. The Nereidas were daughters of a Greek god that dominated the Aegean Sea. The sailors always asked them for help if they were in danger. They lived in the ocean and used to spin with golden spinning wheels. They are represented sitting on dolphins or other sea animals.

Behind Triton and the Nereida is a relief representing the autumn.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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