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Water Fountain Basics:

A natural spring or water source is what the word fountain meant originally. However, the term fountain now refers to an artificial structure that holds and moves water. The purpose of a fountain can range from an aesthetically pleasing site to providing refreshment. Water is manipulated into a beautiful display that both soothes and entertains its viewers.

There are many different types of water fountains. Garden fountains range in size from large estate fountains to small pedestal birdbath fountains. There are also wall fountains that are space saving features that are hung upon a wall.
The idea behind the creation of fountains is to mimic nature. Humanist Tolomei wrote in 1543. “What pleases me more about these new fountains is the variety of ways in which the flow, divide, and in turn, lead, break, and at one movement cause water to descend and at another time rise.” What is so intriguing about a water feature is that the artist is able to manipulate the water, creating dimension and depth.  The idea is to create a beautiful work of art that integrates the natural elements of nature to create something that is totally organic.

Two Categories of Fountains:

Fountains are often hard to put into categories because there are so many designs. However a simple way to classify them is fountains were the water dominates the structure, or fountains were the statuary is dominated over the water. European masterpieces showcase their mastery over architectural form and sculpture, highlighting the statuary as the focal point, with the water acting as a support or enhancement to the original structure. These types of fountains are works of art, visually pleasing, even without any water running.  The other type of fountain is obviously the fountains dominated by water movement. These fountains find excitement through the rise and fall of the water, and without water are dull and unsightly puddles of water.

Modern versus Classical Fountains:

It has become a more common trend to make contemporary fountain with hidden jets, or terraced steps, so as to create an artistic appeal even when there is no water. This is useful, especially in cold winter months, when the water cannot be turned on due to freezing temperatures. Traditional fountains can sometimes be left out during the winter months as beautiful sculptures and statuary. Some fountains are even meant to remain working in the winter, utilizing the freezing temperature to create beautiful ice sculptures.  Furthermore, one must consider the placement of the fountain. This is important if the artist wished the fountain to be viewed in a certain way, or to make sure it is not blocking any pathways! Drinking wall fountains are best placed on an insert of a building wall, where they can be easily located by the public.



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