Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Fontaine du Fellah, also known as the Egyptian Fountain 1806

The Fontaine du Fellah, also known as the Egyptian Fountain, located at 52 rue de Sèvres in Paris. It was built in 1806 during the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, in the neo-Egyptian style inspired by Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. It is the work of architect François-Jean Bralle and sculptor Pierre-Nicolas Beauvalet. The statue is a copy of a Roman statue of Antinous, the lover of the Emperor Hadrian, which was discovered in the excavation of Hadrian's villa in Tivoli in 1739. The original of the statue is found in the Vatican Museum in Rome. The figure holds two amphorae, one in each hand. Water poured from the amphorae into the semicircular basin below, then through a bronze masqueron in the form of a lion's head. The top of the fountain is decorated with an eagle, signifying Napoleon's imperial rule.

The Fontaine du Fellah was one of fifteen fountains constructed by Napoleon to provide fresh drinking water to the population of Paris, and to commemorate his military campaigns. The fountain was constructed against the wall of what was then the hospital for incurable patients. It was the work of architect François-Jean Bralle, the chief engineer of the water supply for the city of Paris, who also was responsible for reconstructing the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens and several other fountains. The sculptural decoration was by Pierre-Nicolas Beauvalet, who also worked on the decoration of the column in Place Vendôme, and made busts of many revolutionary figures. The present statue is a copy made of Beauvalet's original by Jean-François Gechter.

The fountain was in working order until 2005, when it was shut down because of leakage into the nearby Vaneau Metro Station.

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