Spanish version


Neptuno

Neptune fountainIt was king Carlos III who decided to give Madrid a more modern aspect. Specially the area surrounding the Paseo de Prado and Recoletos was remodelled. It should be a place of culture with museums and also a place where the Madrilians could go for a walk and enjoy a beautiful promenade.

The Neptunus fountain is located at Plaza de Canovas del Castillo. When it was built it was first looking in the direction of the Cibeles fountain.

The area is surounded by beautiful buildings, most of them from the XVIIIth  and XIXth century. The Palacio de Villahermosa, where the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum is located now, and the Palace and  Ritz hotels.

The Neptunus fountain was designed by Ventura Rodriguez. Neptunus is standing on a Neptune fountaincarriage made of a shell pulled by two sea-horses. The god is carrying a trident in his left hand and a sea snake in the right one. We can also see several dolphins swimming around the carriage.

The fountain was started in 1777 and is made of marble from Montesclaros (Toledo).  Juan Pascual de Mena was in charge of the sculptures, although he could not finish the project as he suddenly died. It is believed that Neptunus and the sea-horses were made by his disciple Jose Arias.

The carrage and the dolphins were made by several sculptors and the fountain was eventually finished in 1786.

First they put it in Paseo de Recoletos, but in 1897 it was installed where it is now.

Neptunus is the Roman god analogous to the Greek god Poseidon. He was the god of the seas and all kinds of water.

Neptune fountainHis wife was Amphitrite. They lived with their children in a golden palace under the sea. Neptunus stuck his trident into rocks so that water flowed out. He had power over the tempest and all sea-gods were submitted to him.

It was thought that the noise made by earthquakes came from Neptunus´carriage.

The dolphins represent salvation. In old legends they were considered as friends of mankind. They also thought that they were the fastest animals. When a dolphin appears curled up an anchor it represents prudence.

We can see many Neptunus´images in paintings and sculptures. It was a popular image in the Renaissance and Baroque style.

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