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The Fountains

The Fountains


The Bowl or Great Fountains

Two round fountain pools, twenty-five and a half metres in diameter, and bordered with white marble, form the centres of the vast scrollwork parterres which stretch on either side of the Cascade Pool. Each pool has at its centre a shallow marble bowl, resting on a tall massive pedestal decorated with vigorously modelled volutes. A ten-metre jet spurts upwards from each bowl and, as it falls back, the water flows over the edges, forming a swaying silvery curtain.

The twin fountains in the parterre were originally conceived as wooden bowls of modest proportions, set in small pools, and work was begun on them in 1720. After the summer of 1721, when water was sent through the pipes as a test, Peter the Great ordered large bowls and surrounds to be made in marble; these were executed in Italy to designs of Michetti. In October 1722, however, without waiting for the arrival of the marble decoration, the fountains in the parterres were built and started up, with lead-plated oak bowls. The fountains proved so powerful that in 1725 another increase in the size of the bowls was made.

The fountains, which were the highest to be built during the reign of Peter the Great, were constructed by the architect and builder Braunstein, the fountain-builders Giuliano and Giovanni Maria Barattini and Sualem, working to designs by Michetti (the author of the project). The Italian Barattini brothers worked on the western fountain and so it became known as the Italian Fountain; the eastern fountain, where the hydrotechnical construction was carried out by a Frenchman, Sualem, was called the French Fountain.

For 125 years the Great Fountains had bowls of oak, and it was only in 1854 that the virtuosi stone-carvers of the Peterhof Stone Works, using designs by Stakenschneider, cut, worked, and polished Carrara marble to make two bowls four metres in diameter and weighing some seventeen tons each, together with two monumental stems to support them, and two surrounds for the pools. This decor, created exactly according to Peter's original plan, perfected the fountains' forms, and gave them due prominence as the focal points of their respective areas, and as a balance to the Samson Fountain.

mpeg The Bowl or Great Fountains. (264 Kb)

The Bowl or
Great Fountains.

The Bowl or
Great Fountains.
t o p   o f   p a g e  
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