The use of symbols in architecture of the past centuries is evident, even if sometimes cryptic. The reasons behind the repre- sentation of plants in artistic and architectural contexts are of great interest as they help in their understanding. We analysed the plants carved in the Fountain of Four Rivers (Rome), designed by G.L. Bernini (mid-seventeenth century), through iconographic and historical documents. The carved plants (about 34 species) creates a natural and symbolic association with the selected rivers and continents. Some species are chosen to characterise various geographic contexts or fluvial and rupes- trian habitats or are referred to the papal coats of arms (Innocent X Pamphilj). A certain number has auspicious connotation and takes a strong symbolic salvific meaning and protective against the evil’s threat. The Kircherian influence emerges in several iconographic choices, as well as the river selection and orientation, in a philosophical-religious logic linked to the Papacy and Christianity role.

Caneva, G., Altieri, A., Kumbaric, A., Bartoli, F. (2020). Plant iconography and its message: realism and symbolic message in the Bernini fountain of the four rivers in Rome. RENDICONTI LINCEI. SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI, 31(4), 1011-1026 [10.1007/s12210-020-00946-2].

Plant iconography and its message: realism and symbolic message in the Bernini fountain of the four rivers in Rome

Caneva, G.;Altieri, A.;Kumbaric, A.;Bartoli, F.
2020-01-01

Abstract

The use of symbols in architecture of the past centuries is evident, even if sometimes cryptic. The reasons behind the repre- sentation of plants in artistic and architectural contexts are of great interest as they help in their understanding. We analysed the plants carved in the Fountain of Four Rivers (Rome), designed by G.L. Bernini (mid-seventeenth century), through iconographic and historical documents. The carved plants (about 34 species) creates a natural and symbolic association with the selected rivers and continents. Some species are chosen to characterise various geographic contexts or fluvial and rupes- trian habitats or are referred to the papal coats of arms (Innocent X Pamphilj). A certain number has auspicious connotation and takes a strong symbolic salvific meaning and protective against the evil’s threat. The Kircherian influence emerges in several iconographic choices, as well as the river selection and orientation, in a philosophical-religious logic linked to the Papacy and Christianity role.
Caneva, G., Altieri, A., Kumbaric, A., Bartoli, F. (2020). Plant iconography and its message: realism and symbolic message in the Bernini fountain of the four rivers in Rome. RENDICONTI LINCEI. SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI, 31(4), 1011-1026 [10.1007/s12210-020-00946-2].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/375969
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