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Part 4: Neptune the peacemaker

"He drove away the storm clouds and, scattering the veils of mist, displayed heaven to earth and earth to heaven. The sea was no longer angry". Metamorphoses I. (238-240)

The bronze Neptune in Bologna, by Giambologna, holds his trident and gestures with his hand to restore universal peace. In the antique style, little boys squeeze water from dolphins to represent regeneration. A Renaissance sculptural invention shows female water sources expressing water to denote fertility. The fountain was a gift to the city from Pope Pius IV and other religious patrons. It commemorates the achievements of the Pope following a session of the Council of Trent held here from 1547-1548, when Tridentine decrees brought about reconciliation in the Catholic Church. Ironically, the Council deemed references to mythology as unseemly, but Neptune’s fountain suggests that heaven be appeased in more senses than one.

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