The Siren Fountains
The Naiad and Triton Fountains
Four fountains spurt streams of water over the curving granite sides of the semicircular Pool, linked to the straight banks of the canal. On either side of the Pool stand the twin Siren Fountains; further down, at the point where the Pool flows into the Canal, stand the twin Naiad and Triton Fountains. This ornamental ensemble was first conceived and realized between 1720 and 1722. The figures of Naiads are mentioned in a list of various lead sculptures which were being cast in England to the designs of Le Blond and Braunstein, under the terms of a contract with the English merchants Hill Thomas Evans and William Elmsall. In 1723 the two sculptures of gilded lead were put in position at the edge of the Pool, where the fountains were already spurting their jets of water. In 1724 gilded lead dolphins were set on either side of them; the water that gushes from their mouths is carried from the pools of the Great Fountains by hidden pipes.
The Naiads, mythological rulers of the waves, are blowing through sea-shells, from which silver streams pour like visible sound; they are an allegory of Russia's victory on the Baltic. This allegorical and compositional significance of the Naiad Fountains was emphasized when in 1735 the Samson group was erected in the middle of the Pool. Thus, in 1799, when the lead sculptures were to be replaced by new bronze fountain groups, it was decided to reproduce the appearance and composition of the originals. In 1805 Ekimov cast two Siren groups from a model by Shchedrin, in the same year he executed the first Naiad and Triton group from a model by Rachette, and completed the second in 1806.
Eleven years later the leaden dolphins on either side of the Siren Fountains were replaced by gilded bronze ones, cast by Artemy Anisimov and Ivan Timofeyev. Shchedrin's and Rachette's sculptural groups are skilfully designed to suit the jet pattern of the fountains, so that the water, spouting from the sea-shells, should continue the movement of the figures and increase their dynamic force. Shchedrin gave his Sirens Slavic features. They achieve a remarkable perfection of plastic form; their attitudes, expressing the joy of victory, are in harmony with the general exultant mood of the Peterhol ensemble. By skilful modelling, Shchedrin has rendered the dynamic beauty of the bodies, whose movements merge with the rising and falling waves, and conveyed a sense of unbounded elemental force.
This unity between content, sculptural composition, and jet pattern makes the Siren and Naiad and Triton groups superb examples of fountain sculpture.
During the war the sculptures were hidden in an underground tunnel, built by Le Blond many years before. On 24 August 1946, after five years' silence, these pearls of the Peterhof ensemble were restored to their former places and brought back to life: melodious gushing streams once more spout from the sea-shells, as if proclaiming the glory of the long awaited Peace.
· the Basket Fountain;
The Triton Fountain.
The fountain Sirens.
Sculptors F. Shchedrin, A. Anisimov, I. Timofeev.
The Naiad and Triton Fountains.