The Fountains of the Square Pools
In front of the southern facade of the Great Palace's side galleries are the glittering surfaces of two symmetrical rectangular pools. Each has in its centre a marble statue surrounded by six tall jets of water. Although the length of the pools (fifty-four metres) is greater than their breadth (forty-five metres), they fit so harmoniously into the layout that the difference is not apparent.
During 1719 and 1720, a project of Le Blond, approved two years earlier, was used to construct in the Upper Gardens two pools, designed to hold the water which was to pass through the Great Cascade. Seventeen years later, the fountain-builder Sualem improved the pools by installing, to designs of Blank and Davydov, magnificent fountains, for which Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli made two gilded lead groups depicting episodes of the myth of Diana-Artemis. The sculpture was eventually removed as a result of lead deformation and between 1770 and 1773 Yakovlev designed a new decor for the fountains. A high jet rose in the centre, and around it curved streams spouted from the mouths of six gilded dolphins. This composition remained unaltered for 150 years.
Between 1927 and 1929, when the fountains were being restored, their decor was completed by the addition of the marble statues of Spring and Summer. During the reconstruction of the pools in 1956, twelve dolphins were cast in bronze after surviving eighteenth-century specimens. Instead of the stolen statues, marble copies of the classical sculpture of Apollino (the young Apollo), and of Venus Italica by Antonio Canova were installed in 1967.
The Fountains of the Square Pools, like all the other fountains in the Upper Gardens, unite in their design a vast sheet of water, several lively, picturesque jets, and sculptural decoration. Compositionally, they serve as a link between the water pageant of the Upper Gardens, and the south facade of the Great Palace.
· the Mezheumny or
· the Neptune Fountain;
· the Oak Fountain;
The Fountain of
the Square Pool.