Centerpiece of a triptic set on the Trevi Fountain at Rome.
In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, finding the earlier fountain insufficiently dramatic, asked Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sketch possible renovations, but the project was abandoned when the pope died. The planning for a new fountain on the site began again 100 years later. This time under the Roman architect Nicola Salvi, whose work was inspired by the sketches left by Bernini. The fountain took 30 years to finish and it stood completed in year 1762.
The Trevi Fountain is dominated by a several large statues. The very center of the fountain is dominated by a man standing in a large shell chariot. This statue depicts the Roman god of the water and the seas, Neptune – also known as Poseidon in Greek mythology. The chariot is pulled by two sea horses. One of them is calm and submissive while the other one is impatient and restless. The creature’s different temper is said to symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea.
Each one of the horses is guided by a triton – a mermaid like creature who formed the escort of marine divinities in the Greek mythology. The creatures do not only add symbolic meaning to the fountain with the contrast in their mood and poses, but they also provide a symmetrical balance.