Fuente de la Alcachofa (Artichoke Fountain) is a beautiful Baroque fountain located on the Plaza de la Republica de Honduras, on the south-west side of the famous Retiro Park. The fountain is designed by Ventura Rodrigeuz and built in 1781, during the reign of Carlos III. It is made of granite and white limestone stone. On top is a bronze carved artichoke from which water flows onto a bed of leaves, which is carried by four young children. These children are standing in a large bowl from which the water flows into the basin on the lowest level. Under the bowl sculptures of Triton and Nereida are holding the coat of arms of Madrid. Triton is the god of the seas, half men half fish and Nereida is a nymph. These sculptors are made by Antonio Primo and Alfonso Giraldo Bergaz. Behind Triton and Nereida there is a relief on the column representing autumn. When the fountain was designed, the artichoke was the main healthy winter food in the region and a symbol of life and fertility. This inspired Ventura Rodriguez. That he designed a Baroque fountain is remarkable, because most of his designs are neoclassical.
The fountain was placed at the centre of the Paseo del Prado but moved to the Retiro Park in 1880. In 1987 a bronze replica was paced at the former place of the fountain at Plaza del Emperador Carlos V., also called the Plaza de Atocha, because of the Atocha railway station which is located there. If you are visiting the beautiful Retiro Park, take some time to admire this unique fountain.
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