theatricality—in fact, the entire chapel was conceived as a theater with its own audience looking in from
the boxes on the side walls.
Bernini, Ecstasy of St. Teresa, 1645-52
The Four Rivers Fountain (1648-51) was commissioned by Pope Innocent X Pamphili whose palace is one of
the buildings facing Piazza Navona (the church attached to the Pamphili palace, Sant’Agnese, is by Bernini’s
rival, Borromini). The fountain represents four great rivers of the world that are imagined flowing into
Rome; an underlying idea is that the people from all these far-of lands will be converted to Catholicism.
The large male figures represent the Nile (the veiled figure), the Ganges; the Danube (who looks upward
toward the obelisk) and the Rio de la Plata (the bald man who also looks upward).
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