The Moor Fountain: A Mastery of Sculpture
Although this sculpture is spectacular, it seemed to have no real passion or deep feeling to the artist. The sculpture displays a mastery of sculpture and technique, mainly to satisfy the taste of the pope. The dolphin is an excuse to show the tension of the Triton, but this tension is simply a superficial dramatic effect for the fountain, especially since the Triton is not looking at his quarry as intently as he is holding onto the dolphin, but gazing off into the distance without a tense look on his face.
This fountain does not show the vigor and simplicity of Bernini’s other extravagant fountain, but it is none-the-less a beautiful sculpture. The fountain is a favorite of the Roman people, earning is name “Moor” from the African features on the statues foreign looking face.
The features on the fountain, copied from the masks Michelangelo designed for the Pallazo dei Conservatori, reoccur on many of the works by Bernini. The faces feature small animal-like eyes, a snub nose, protruding lips, and messy long hair or heavy facial hair. He repeated these faces through many of his works, and in “The Moor”, he took this design to extremes!