Fountain of the Harpies

Fountain of the Harpies (Puerta del Sol, Madrid). Drawing of 1707 by Juan Álvarez de Colmenar, entitled La Fontaine et la Place du Soleil à Madrit.
Azulejo street-sign in Puerta del Sol with a historic depiction of the fountain and the square at the time.

The Fountain of the Harpies (or Fountain of the Faith) was a fountain located in Puerta del Sol, in Madrid.

It was designed by Italian Rutilio Gaci in 1618 and made in 1625 by the Catalan sculptor Antonio de Riera, in collaboration with Francisco del Río, Guillem de Bona and Martín de Azpillaga. Plumbers teachers were Sebastián de la Oliva and Juan del Río the Elder.

According to the documentation of the time, the fountain consisted of four pipes (placed on figures of harpies throwing water over her breasts, all in gilded bronze), twelve masks, four feet and four pyramids for seat and finnish of other so many balls.[1]

It was demolished in early-18th century for rise in its place the Fountain de La Mariblanca.

The statue on top

With regard to the Mariblanca statue, it was bought in Italy by the Florentine merchant Ludovico Turchi, from a custom 1619 of the Junta de las Fuentes, an agency under the Madrilenian City Hall, which paid the amount of 15,000 reales for this and other mythological sculptures, acquired for the ornate of the capital.

The statue remained stored several years until, in 1625, when it was finished the fountain, could be placed on top.

Although this is an image of Venus, the figure was misidentified with a representation of the Faith. Hence the fountain was known both this name as that of the Harpies, referring to the aforementioned sculptures.


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