30.6.11

Medici Fountain

I already posted about the Luxembourg Gardens, a long time ago (see here), but passing by the other day, I thought that the Medici Fountain was worth a new and specific post.

It dates from about 1630 and was created on the initiative of Maria de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, regent of the young Louis XIII (and grandmother of Louis XIV). This was part of the decoration she wanted in the park that surrounded the Medici Palace (today Luxembourg Palace) which was built for her 1623-30. As a Medici, she was of course much influenced by and wanted things to have a resemblance with what she had known in Florence, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens….

What we today refer to as a fountain, was originally a “grotto” and it had no water basin in front of it. Different modifications took place during the centuries, but the major one, around 1860, when the Haussmannian major city plan modifications took place, including wider streets. The “grotto” had to be moved – some 30 meters (100 ft). On the plan from 1739 we can see where it originally stood and where it stands today.
When the “grotto” was displaced, some major modifications were also made. The beautiful basin was added.
Some statues in bad shape were replaced and especially, what we now see in the middle, a new group of statues, was created (by Auguste Ottin), representing the Cyclope Polyphemus, son of Poseidon (in bronze), discovering the lovers Acis and Galatea (in marble), possibly as a reference to the renaissance period, when this tale obviously was in fashion.
The 17th century composer Lully (and later Haendel) wrote music about the theme.

As the buildings which originally stood behind the grotto had disappeared, something had to be done to the empty back side. Another fountain, which originally stood in the corner of the nearby Rue Vaugirard and Rue du Regard, “Leda and the Swan”, had also to be removed because of the new large streets and avenues and it fitted quite well to the empty back side. So there it is now … in need of some restoration or cleaning.

25 comments:

Olivier said...

cette fontaine est vraiment magnifique et souvent elle sert pour tes expositions d'art (souvent modernes). Un jardin extraordinaire comme pourrait le chanter Trenet

Pierre BOYER said...

J'aime beaucoup....

Pierre

Julie said...

I appreciate the music that you are including in many of your posts, Peter. Really sets the tone as I read through and linger over the images.

I have spent much time in JdL but have never ventured through this 'pocket' always exiting through the other side and down in front of Saint Sulpice. I see that I need to wander more. I have had to postpone my September visit due to my daughter's operation, but hope to reschedule for the northern 2012 Spring. There is soooo much for me to see.

Thank you once again for all the effort you put into compiling these posts for us. I can appreciate that two a week is work enough!

Studio at the Farm said...

It was, and is even more so today, a beautiful monument. The "move" and changes were rally done very well. Thank you,Peter.

orvokki said...

Thank you, Peter, for your lovely photos and stories. This Luxemburg Garden is very very beautifull and interesant..
Have a nice day.

Thirtytwo degrees said...

I sgree with Julie that the music added a lot to this study. Very, very The coat of arms I find utterly fascinating at this site!

The romance of the fountain is exquisite...

Thérèse said...

Une belle retrospective et de bien belles photos actuelles.

Starman said...

I took some pictures of this fountain when I first saw it many years ago, but they don't compare to yours.

Synne said...

I noticed that beauty when I visited the Luxembourg Gardens last year. I didn't know of it at the time, but all of a sudden, there it was! Lovely photos!

Vagabonde said...

What an informative post. Last month we went to the Luxembourg Gardens again. I have pictures of the fountain in the fall and in the spring and will place them in a future post. I am pleased now to know its history. You are like an encyclopedia of Paris Peter!

Mona said...

Peter, your blog posts are like visiting museums, or France itself! The pictures are fascinating!

Montreal Photo Daily said...

Another one of your classic posts! I much enjoyed the tour Peter. Thanks.
Wish you a happy day!

claude said...

Elle a beaucoup évolué au fil du tamps et maintenant c'est une des merveilles de Paris, Je me rappelle l'avoir vu en ta compagnie et je dois l'avoir en photo.
Merci pour ce post, Peter.

hpy said...

Faut-il toujours payer pour les chaises?

Ιωάννα said...

Beautiful! I also love this fountain because it is slightly more "hidden" i.e. not the first thing you encounter upon entering the garden

Thank you for the additional information - next time I visit Paris I will pay extra attention to it :)

Shammickite said...

What a wonderful fountain. So decorative, so many details! Just imaging how much it would cost to create such a fountain today.

JULY 1: Happy CANADA Day, Peter! You may not be aware that it's Canada's 144th birthday today, and Will and Kate are in Ottawa to help us celebrate. Actually, we don't need help, but it's great to have them here!

JoeinVegas said...

I like the research you do on the history of things, along with old maps and images for comparison. Thank you.

Cezar and Léia said...

Lovely sculptures in this fountain ( the "kiss"is so romantic).
Great collages and pictures Peter, congratulations!
Léia

Trotter said...

Hi Peter! Sorry for the absence; another busy fortnight... No holidays... ;)
The Luxembourg gardens have some wonderful spots... And this post shows!
Have a wonderful week ahead!!

Cergie said...

C'est étrange, tu as publié jeudi sur l'endroit où j'étais en fin d'après-midi ce même jeudi après avoir beaucoup marché avec mon ami. J'ai surtout écouté une fanfare de cuivre sous le kiosque. J'ai vu passer un petit avion au dessus du jardin et j'ai regardé un double mixte de tennis de très bon niveau et ensuite j'ai pris le RER à Luxembourg pour retourner chez moi...

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

This is my favorite quiet place in Paris, cool and shaded in the summer, away from the crowds. Although it is only a few steps off the path, it is a haven for quiet talks, reading, or contemplation. With these sweet sounds, I should add, "listening to music."

Bises,
Genie

arabesque said...

interesting how a fountain like this can be an art and masterpiece.
can't help looking at its details.
really beautiful.

JM said...

Awesome! Great details.

Maria O. Russell said...

This post brings such sweet memories of Sebastien, my dearest darling French nephew and godson. When I´m in Paris, this is our favorite meeting point.

Beautiful pictures, Peter! Thank you so much.

joanny said...

Peter:

MERCI - for all of it...you bring us so much joy sharing the richness of all the art & music to our world through your photography and historic research.

joanny