Piazza dei Quiriti Fountain Rome (Fountain of the Caryatids)

The fountain in the Piazza dei Quiriti in the Prati district is one of several fountains in Rome that was built in the year 1927, when several districts of the city each got their own fountain. The official name of the fountain is Fountain of the Caryatids.

Piazza dei Quiriti Fountain Rome

History and description

Fountain of the Caryatids Rome
Fountain of the Caryatids

The Fontana della Piazza dei Quiriti was built in 1928, by the sculptor Attilio Selva and was rather controversial at the time because of the female nudes.

Selva had won a competition launched by the city and thus was thus allowed to design five fountains for the then newly appointed rioni.

The fountain consists of three circular basins from which fine sheets of water cascade. The lower one is the largest and, like the central one, round. In the middle tub are four kneeling female figures, on which the smallest tub rests. In the center of this tub is an upright pine cone, from which water sprays upward. Below the central tub, several smaller tubs are attached.

A caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support to an entablature, just like a pillar or column does. The four female figures stand in the center of the basin and have their backs to the viewer.

The figures were labeled obscene. Although the statues of women anticipated the fascist fascination with the nude figure, the design was still considered scandalous at the time. The city’s governor, Catholic institutions and the sculptor himself all voiced their opinions, making the fountain instantly famous. As a result of the disagreements, the fountain would be inaugurated later than planned.

The water for the fountain originally came from the Acquedotto Marcio.

Fountain of the Caryatids, Rome

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