The water fountain has long been a part of daily life. These features date back through the ages all the way to the ancient Greeks, who constructed their fountains above springs that they believed to hold magical properties. Many of these earliest fountains were designed in the image of gods and goddesses of the time. This design principle was carried forward by the Romans as well, and many of their ancient fountains also depicted the deities of the time.
During the renaissance, the design of water fountains changed remarkably. With the renewed interest in art, literature, and sculpture came a period when art was designed to imitate life more thoroughly. Many of the fountains created during this time period, such as the many fountains found throughout Italy and the rest of Europe, depict highly detailed scenes from life as well as richly detailed scenes from literature and folklore. There are numerous fountains throughout Europe from this period that depict gods, goddesses, mythological creatures, and even average people. Many of these fountains are to this very day among the most famed and adored in the world.
Starting in the 1800’s, water fountain design in the United States began. For a period, a majority of the fountains built in the US were derivative of the designs created in Europe. It would not be until the 1900’s that the United States would branch off, creating not only a unique form of fountain design, but a unique world of art as a whole. While classical and antique fountain styles are still popular, the US has a large market for abstract and modern water fountains as well.
Today the water fountain takes many forms. In the United States alone, fountains ranging from Asian themes such as Zen fountains to abstract fountains created from simplistic materials and unique shapes can be easily found. The concept of art and beauty has grown considerably over the last century, and the fountain is now as much a place to display artistic tastes as it was once a place to celebrate the sculpture of centuries long past.
Water fountains will always be a part of culture and art. While these fountains were once used for practical purposes, such as watering plants or animals as well as magical healing purposes, they are often used today simply for their beauty. The history of the fountain is certainly a rich one, and a growing appreciation for art and beauty ensures that this history will continue to grow for many years to come.