There were two categories of Tuscan water fountains known in the fifteenth century: the autonomous or type “isolated”, designed for the center of the town square, courtyard or backyard gardens and the “committed” or as we call them today the wall fountains, that are normally placed against a wall at the end of a square or a courtyard and that are in need of a backing support wall or boulder.
The sink fountain was the ancestor of our modern day plumed sink with running water. Back then those sinks were used by the priests for religious purposes where celebrants washed their hands before the consecration of the host into the body of Christ. Therefore, the basin was placed much higher than our modern day sinks.
Museums and private collections contain the bulk of the scattered Venetian basins sink heritage and few documented hand drawing and sketches of those original designs survived in the archives of Venetian and Florentine Museums and private collections.
Ancient Surfaces can successfully re-carved and restore most common stone and marble sink forms and designs. We later made a discovery in that field that was later confirmed with scholars of that period.
The smaller sized inlayed wash basin sinks were used only outdoors inside open air private closed garden courtyards.
The Florentine fountain figures that survive from this period are mainly variations on the popular theme of the ‘Putto’. However, fountains performances in contemporary Italian art indicates that a wide range of topics, usually based on classical prototypes, were used in the Quattrocento sink fountains.
With sink fountains becoming freestanding, however, carvers had to face new challenges. Chief of these was the need for a 360-degree configuration since the ‘Quattrocento’ sink fountains were wall fountain meant for frontal viewing only.
It was a difficult technical problem that was not solved overnight. Over time however, the competence of Italian master carvers and designers prevailed as evidenced by the sculptural record from the following period that started in the 17th Century and that is still ongoing today.
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