Original Art. Acryl on 100% linen canvas (not stretched)
123 x 215 CM.
Ilian Rachov Artist. 2023. All rights reserved.
The restoration of the Roman Aqua Virgo aqueduct in 1570 was immediately followed by the start of work on a continuation water supply pipe towards the district of the old Campo Marzio, which following the diminution of the city’s size and importance was left as the most densely populated part of the city. Restoration of a piped water supply in turn permitted the construction of several public fountains. The basin of the Fontana del Nettuno, (without the sculptures), was designed in 1574 by Giacomo Della Porta, who was also responsible for the Moor Fountain at the other side of the square. It was sponsored by pope Gregory XIII. The lower part of the basin consists of white marble and the upper part of the local stone from Pietrasanta. For the next 300 years, the fountain survived without statues.
Nineteenth-century infrastructure developments reduced dependence on urban fountains for drinking and washing purposes but increased their visual and political importance, especially following the creation of the Italian state with Rome as its capital after 1870. The fountain as it exists today was finally completed in 1878 by Antonio della Bitta, who added the imposing sculpture of Neptune fighting with an octopus, and Gregorio Zappalà, who created the other sculptures, based on the mythological theme of the “Nereids with Cupids and walruses”. This statuary was added following a competition in 1873, in order to balance that of the Moor Fountain on the south side of the piazza and of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) at its centre.
Neptune is the Roman god of the sea and the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Poseidon. He was originally a god of fresh water and became associated with Poseidon early on in Roman history. He lives in a golden palace at the bottom of the sea, where he holds court over sea gods and goddesses, sea nymphs and sea creatures.
He is the son of Saturn (the Roman counterpart of Cronus) and Ops (the Roman counterpart of Rhea). His brother is Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Zeus from Greek mythology and, therefore, the most powerful god in the Roman pantheon. Neptune was considered the second most powerful god in Roman mythology.
According to Homer (c. 750 BCE), the brothers Neptune, Jupiter and Pluto (the Roman counterpart of Hades) drew lots to decide which part of the world they would rule over. Neptune drew lots for the sea, Pluto for the underworld, and Jupiter for the sky and heavens. Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) states that Jupiter assigned honours to all the deities after he became king of the gods. Neptune was mostly loyal to his brother Jupiter; however, on one occasion, he conspired with Juno (the Roman equivalent of Hera) and Minerva (the Roman counterpart of Athena) to overthrow him and put him in chains. For this disobedience, Jupiter punished him and banished him to the sea.
Neptune was married to Salacia (the Roman equivalent of the water goddess Amphitrite). Together they had several children, including Triton, Rhodes, Proteus and Benthesikyme. However, like his brother Jupiter, Neptune had many love affairs that resulted in children. He made love to the goddess Ceres when she was in the form of a mare, and she gave birth to a foal called Arion, who would sometimes pull his father’s chariot along the surface of the sea. Tyro, the daughter of Salmoneus, slept with Neptune when he was in the form of a river god and gave birth to two sons named Pelias and Neleus. The Cyclops Polyphemus was the son of Neptune and the sea nymph Thoosa. He also fathered the giants Otus and Ephialtes with Iphimedeia.