|Maltese: Il-Funtana tat-Tritoni|
Triton Fountain in 2018
|Artist|| Vincent Apap |
|Completion date||16 May 1959|
|Medium||Bronze, concrete and travertine|
The Triton Fountain (Maltese : Il-Funtana tat-Tritoni) is a fountain located on the periphery of the City Gate of Valletta, Malta. It consists of three bronze Tritons holding up a large basin, balanced on a concentric base built out of concrete and clad in travertine slabs. The fountain is one of Malta's most important Modernist landmarks.
Maltese is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the extinct variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and was later introduced to Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century.
City Gate is a gate located at the entrance of Valletta, Malta. The present gate, which is the fifth one to have stood on the site, was built between 2011 and 2014 to designs of the Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta. Located in the south east of the island, between Marsamxett Harbour to the west and the Grand Harbour to the east, its population in 2014 was 6,444, while the metropolitan area around it has a population of 393,938. Valletta is the southernmost capital of Europe.
Designed and constructed between 1952 and 1959 under no less than three governing bodies, and conceived jointly by eminent sculptor Chevalier Vincent Apap and his collaborator draughtsman Victor Anastasi, the fountain became unofficially operational on Saturday 16 May 1959. The fountain was used as a stage for National Celebrations named 'Mill-Maltin għall-Maltin' and is popularly believed that it might have contributed to the dramatic collapse of the sculptural group on Wednesday 1 March 1978. This statement has been technically proven incorrect since the sculptural group contained no structural armature to bear the weight of the water laden basin, which subsequently collapsed due to metal fatigue and creep.
Vincent Apap was a Maltese sculptor. He is well-known for designing various public monuments and church statues, most notably the Triton Fountain in Valletta. He has been called "one of Malta's foremost sculptors of the Modern Period" by the studio of Renzo Piano.
Victor Anastasi (1913–1992) was a Maltese designer. He worked as a draughtsman with the Public Works Department, and although he never formally studied architecture, he was involved in the design process of numerous buildings. He was an admirer of Italian architecture, and often traveled to Rome where he often met with Maltese artists who were studying there.
The sculptural group was repaired by Malta Drydocks engineers between January 1986 and April 1987. During this intervention a central sculptural addition consisting of three seagulls and seaweed (also the work of Chev. Apap) was introduced within the sculptural group, however this arrangement subsequently diminished the role of the gigantic Triton figures.
The fountain deteriorated in subsequent decades, until the bronze figures were dismantled and restored in 2017. Works were ready by the end of the year, and the fountain and piazza were officially inaugurated on 12 January 2018.
The fountain consists of three bronze figures of mythological Tritons holding up a platter. Two of the Tritons are sitting, while the third one is kneeling, and they are balanced on a seaweed base. The face of each Triton is visible when viewed from City Gate. Their posture gives a sense of strength as well as spiral movement, which contribute to the monumentality of the fountain. The water jets were also designed in order to convey the sense of movement.The figures of the Tritons represent Malta's links with the sea, and their design was inspired by the Fontana delle Tartarughe in Rome. After the fountain's platter was damaged in the 1980s, a bronze pillar depicting a flight of seagulls was added to the fountain to support its weight. This will not be included once the current restoration is complete.
Triton is a Greek god, the messenger of the sea. He is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea respectively, and is herald for his father. He is usually represented as a merman which has the upper body of a human and the tail, soft dorsal fin, spiny dorsal fin, anal fin, pelvic fins and caudal fin of a fish, "sea-hued", according to Ovid "his shoulders barnacled with sea-shells".
The Fontana delle Tartarughe is a fountain of the late Italian Renaissance, located in Piazza Mattei, in the Sant'Angelo district of Rome, Italy. It was built between 1580 and 1588 by the architect Giacomo della Porta and the sculptor Taddeo Landini. The bronze turtles around the upper basin, usually attributed either to Gian Lorenzo Bernini or Andrea Sacchi, were added in either 1658 or 1659 when the fountain was restored.
The base of the fountain was originally designed with a quadripartite plan inspired by Rome's Fontana delle Naiadi, but this was later changed to a tripartite concentric plan. The base is constructed out of reinforced concrete, and it consists of four concentric water basins. The exterior is clad with a total of 730 tons of travertine slabs from Rome. The outer slabs of the vasca intermedia are decorated with a relief representing foliage.
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, cream-colored, and even rusty varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. In the latter, it can form stalactites, stalagmites, and other speleothems. It is frequently used in Italy and elsewhere as a building material.
Beneath the structure of the fountain, there are a series of passages and chambers which allow for maintenance and inspection and connect the fountain to the water and electrical services. These underground passages and a pump room cover an area of over 140 m2 (1,500 sq ft), and are accessible through a manhole in the pavement near the fountain.
The fountain was designed so as to avoid contrast with the nearby bastions, as well as to blend with the Victorian-era Kingsgate. The gate was demolished five years after the fountain was completed.
The fortifications of Valletta are a series of defensive walls and other fortifications which surround the capital city of Valletta, Malta. The first fortification to be built was Fort Saint Elmo in 1552, but the fortifications of the city proper began to be built in 1566 when it was founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette. Modifications were made throughout the following centuries, with the last major addition being Fort Lascaris which was completed in 1856. Most of the fortifications remain largely intact today.
The site of the fountain was formerly occupied by St. Madeleine's Lunette,[ clarification needed ] a 17th-century lunette that protected the entrance to Valletta. The lunette was dismantled and its ditch was filled in with rubble in the 19th century, although some parts might have survived beneath the present street level. The area was eventually used as a bus terminus, and in January 1953 the Ministry for Public Works and Reconstruction launched a competition for designing a fountain in this empty space. The competition was open to everyone except for those who worked at the Public Works Department, and the first prize was of £100.
The winning proposal was entitled "Triton", and it was submitted by the sculptor Vincent Apap. It was designed in collaboration with the draughtsman and designer Victor Anastasi, who was not mentioned on the proposal since he was employed by the PWD. Apap worked on the sculpture of three Tritons in stucco at a former dovecote in Palazzo Parisio, which had been made available by his friend, the marquis Joe Scicluna.Meanwhile, Anastasi worked on the technical and architectural elements of the fountain, including the hydraulic systems, and costs and supplies of materials.
Work on the fountain's foundations began in June 1955 by the contractor Carmelo Grech,and construction of the base was complete by mid-1958. The figures of the Tritons were cast in bronze at the Lagana foundry in Naples, and were put in place in 1959. The total cost of construction was around £80,000. The fountain was switched on for the first time on 16 May 1959, but it was never officially inaugurated due to the uneasy political situation at the time, as Malta's government had just resigned and the islands were under direct colonial rule.
In the decades after its construction, the fountain became a landmark due to its prominent location in Malta's main bus terminus. It was used for various events, including the Republic Day national festivities which were televised on the programme Mill-Maltin għall-Maltin. A platform was built on the fountain's upper platter to house entertainment acts which included concerts as well as motorcycles climbing on the plate over specially-constructed ramps.This greatly weakened the structure, and together with natural deterioration, it resulted in the tank mounted inside the basin failing to limit the water supported inside. This caused an excessive amount of water to remain in the platter, which strained the bronze Triton figures supporting it. One of the Tritons' arms broke on 1 March 1978, and the platter collapsed resulting in significant damage to two of the three Tritons.
In 1986, the basin and damaged figures were repaired at the Malta Drydocks, and a central pillar was added to support the weight of the platter. Water no longer passed through the Tritons' arms, but through a pipe in this pillar. The fountain was functional on 1 May 1987,and repairs cost around Lm10,000. The central pillar was designed by Apap himself, even though he was against this repair work, and it was cast in bronze in Verona. These interventions have been called "inartistic" and have been widely criticized as destroying the fountain's original harmony.
In the late 1990s, the fountain's water and lighting systems were refurbished by the Malta Desalination Services and the Water Works Division.
Over time, further deterioration to the sculpture occurred, including corrosion and cracks in the figures.In 2017, Minister Joe Mizzi stated that the bronze figures had deteriorated to such an extent that they "would have been lost" if they had not been restored. The travertine slabs in the fountain's base also sustained substantial damage and staining over the years.
In 2011, works began on a project by Renzo Piano to redesign the entrance of Valletta. This project included rebuilding the City Gate and landscaping the surrounding area, and Piano recommended that the Triton Fountain be shifted some distance away from its location immediately outside Valletta's entrance. The proposed relocation was announced by the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications in April 2011, and it was meant to create an open space and restore "the architectural and historical context of the entrance to the fortified city". The approach to the City Gate would be flanked by trees and only accessible to pedestrians, while the fountain was to be restored and shifted to the garden opposite the Hotel Phoenicia, close to the Malta Memorial and the MCP car park.This would have moved the fountain from the limits of Valletta to Floriana.
The proposed relocation was controversial, and although some welcomed the proposal, most people were against moving the landmark fountain.Opponents stated that since the fountain has an underground system of passages, it is impossible to move it without destroying and rebuilding it, and the fountain might not work at all if moved. Concerns were also raised that the Triton figures would be damaged if they were to be moved. In December 2011, Minister Austin Gatt announced that the fountain will not be moved, and after restoration it will serve as the centerpiece of Piano's redesigned entrance to Valletta.
The fountain was scheduled as a Grade 1 property by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority on 8 May 2012,as one of the "20th Century Modernist Architecture and Monuments in Valletta and Floriana". On 28 December of the same year, it was included on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.
Plans to restore the fountain were first made during the 2011 relocation proposal. After it was announced that the fountain will remain in its original location, it was mentioned that €2 million would be allocated to restore it, removing the alterations done in the 1980s.In January 2015, the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure announced that restoration will begin that year and would be complete by 2017, at a cost of €500,000. However, nothing materialized initially and the Ministry only began the process to restore the fountain in October 2015. A month later, a pre-qualification questionnaire for prospective bidders interested in restoring the fountain was issued. The government made attempts to find a suitable bidder throughout 2016, until the Ministry signed a contract with Sea Fountain One on 12 January 2017 to restore the fountain to its original state by the end of the year. Restoration work, is to cost about €4 million since the damage was worse than expected.
The Triton figures began to be dismantled on 4 February 2017,and they were later sent to Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry in Florence to be cleaned. The concrete that was used to fill the brass figures has been removed. A steel structure has been built inside the figures so as to support the weight of the plate, and each figure is now covered in microcrystalline wax for protection and was painted in azurite blue as was their original colour in 1959. The massive base of the fountain was restored by the De Feo Restauri of Rome, a specialized company in restoration of monuments. A new plant room has been constructed, which is connected to the new pump room through a tunnel. The restored Triton figures were sent back to Malta and reinstalled in August 2017, and renovation works of the surrounding square continued until the end of the year.
The restored fountain was officially inaugurated on 12 January 2018, by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The works were completed a week ahead of Valletta taking its position as European Capital of Culture 2018. It was stated that the restoration cost amounted to €4.5 million.
Saint James Cavalier is a 16th-century cavalier in Valletta, Malta, which was built by the Order of St. John. It overlooks St. James' Bastion, a large obtuse-angled bastion forming part of the Valletta Land Front. St. James was one of nine planned cavaliers in the city, although eventually only two were built, the other one being the identical Saint John's Cavalier. It was designed by the Italian military engineer Francesco Laparelli, while its construction was overseen by his Maltese assistant Girolamo Cassar. St. James Cavalier never saw use in any military conflict, but it played a role during the Rising of the Priests in 1775.
The Our Lady of Victories Church, formerly known as the Saint Anthony the Abbot Church, was the first church and building completed in Valletta, Malta. In 1566, following the Great Siege of Malta, Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette and his Order showed interest to build a church in the name of the Nativity of the Virgin as a form of thanksgiving; the construction was funded by De Valette.
The Wignacourt Aqueduct is a 17th-century aqueduct in Malta, which was built by the Order of Saint John to carry water from springs in Dingli and Rabat to the newly-built capital city Valletta. The aqueduct was carried through underground pipes and over arched viaducts across depressions in the ground.
The Auberge d'Italie is an auberge in Valletta, Malta. It was built at various stages in the late 16th century to house knights of the Order of Saint John from the langue of Italy, and it originally had a Mannerist design by Girolamo Cassar and several other architects. The building continued to be modified throughout the course of the 17th century, with the last major renovation being carried out in the 1680s during the magistracy of Gregorio Carafa, giving the building a Baroque character.
Saint John's Cavalier is a 16th-century cavalier in Valletta, Malta, which was built by the Order of St. John. It overlooks St. John's Bastion, a large obtuse-angled bastion forming part of the Valletta Land Front. St. John was one of nine planned cavaliers in the city, although eventually only two were built, the other one being the identical Saint James Cavalier. It was designed by the Italian military engineer Francesco Laparelli, while its construction was overseen by his Maltese assistant Girolamo Cassar.
Ponsonby's Column, also known as Ponsonby's Cenotaph, was a monumental column in Valletta, Malta. It was built in 1838 as a memorial to Major-General Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby, a former Governor of Malta, but it was destroyed by lightning in 1864. Its plinth survived, and is now located near Hastings Gardens.
Hotel Phoenicia, formerly called the Le Méridien Phoenicia, is a 5-star hotel in Floriana, Malta. The Art Deco hotel was built in the 1930s, and was opened in November 1947. It is regarded as one of the top hotels in Malta. The hotel had one of the earliest restaurants of good standards in Malta in the 1950s.
Is-Suq tal-Belt, also known as the Covered Market, is a 19th-century market hall located in Valletta, Malta. It is notable for being the first building in Malta to be constructed mostly of iron. The building was severely damaged in World War II, and the rebuilding was insensitive to the original structure. Further alterations were made in later decades, and the market began to decline in the 1970s. An attempt to rebrand it as a shopping arcade known as Ixtri Malti in the 1980s was unsuccessful. The market continued to decline until it was renovated in 2016–17, and reopened as a food market in January 2018.
Fawwara Gate, also known as Gzira Gate, Sliema Gate, Testaferrata Gate and Tower Gate, is a late 18th-century archway built during the rule of the Order of St. John in Gżira, Malta. The archway was built as a commemoration of a new principal main road that is set on a long stretch of lands from Msida to Sliema; today being two roads namely Msida Road and Rue d'Argens.
Victoria Gate is a city gate in Valletta, Malta. It was built by the British in 1885, and was named after Queen Victoria. The gate is the main entrance into the city from the Grand Harbour area, which was once the busiest part of the city. The gate is located between Marina Curtain and St. Barbara Bastion, on the site of the 16th-century Del Monte Gate.
The Slaves' Prison officially known as the Grand Prison and colloquially as the bagnio, was a prison in Valletta, Malta. It was established in the late 16th century, and remained in use as a prison throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. It was subsequently used as a naval hospital, a school and an examination hall. It was bombed in World War II, and the ruins were demolished to make way for a block of flats.
Ġnien is-Sultan, also known as the Giardino della Marina, the Grand Master's Garden or Lascaris Garden, was a garden in Valletta, Malta. It was established in the 17th century by Giovanni Paolo Lascaris, and it included a summer residence for the Grand Master. It was a masterpiece of a Baroque garden designed by Francesco Buonamici.
The Notre Dame Gate, also known as the Notre Dame de la Grace Gate, the Cottonera Gate, the Żabbar Gate or Bieb is-Sultan, is the main gate of the Cottonera Lines, located in Birgu, Malta. The gate was built in 1675 in the Baroque style, and it is currently used as the headquarters of the heritage organization Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna.
The St Elmo Bridge is a single-span arched truss steel footbridge leading from the foreshore of Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta, Malta, to the breakwater at the entrance of the Grand Harbour. It was constructed in 2011–12 to designs of the Spanish architects Arenas & Asociados. The bridge stands on the site of an earlier bridge which had been built in 1906 and which was destroyed during World War II in 1941. The original bridge had a similar design to the present one, but it had two spans instead of one.
The Great Siege Monument, also known as the Monument to the Fallen of the Great Siege, is a monument commemorating the Great Siege of Malta located in Valletta, Malta. It consists of three bronze figures symbolizing Faith, Fortitude, and Civilization, standing on top of a granite base. The monument is the work of the sculptor Antonio Sciortino, and it was inaugurated on 8 May 1927.
Events in the year 2018 in Malta.