Neptune by Nicolau Traver

  • Description

  • Work's History

Nicolau Traver represented his Neptune of the fountain of the Neoclassical courtyard with the characteristic attributes of this classical divinity: an old man standing erect, with a long beard and an abundant mass of hair. He rests his left arm on the tiller of a boat, holding his unmistakeable trident; in his right hand he holds a sceptre symbolising his dominion of the seas. He is accompanied by two dolphins.

«You, whose kingdom obtained is close to the land, of uncertain waves, and bearer of the trident, with whom the sacred rivers run to find, come and listen, Neptune, very attentive to what is requested.» Ovidi, Les metamorfosis

Within the project to make the Llotja a sumptuous building that would meet up to the ambitions of Barcelona’s merchant class, the Board of Trade decided to construct a fountain to embellish the Neoclassical courtyard. In recognition of the city’s seafaring vocation, it was ornamented with a figure of Neptune, created by Nicolau Traver, and other smaller figures of The Nereids, by Antoni Solà.

Neptune, the Roman heir to the Greek god Poseidon, is one of the twelve divinities of Olympus, the god of the seas and water, the son of Saturn and Rhea and the elder brother of Jupiter. He is often portrayed as an ill-tempered old man who has the power to both unleash and calm violent storms. Seamen used to invoke his protection to ensure smooth sailing free of danger. He is usually shown with a long beard and an abundant mane of hair, grasping a trident like the one used by fishermen to catch tuna. Its three prongs symbolise the main types of bodies of water: rivers, oceans and lakes. Neptune is usually accompanied by a retinue of marine divinities: the Tritons and the Nereids.

The Nereids tend to be represented either as mermaids or else riding on sea creatures such as dolphins. They are daughters of Nereus – a sea god older than Poseidon – and Doris, the daughter of Oceanus. The Nereids were generally considered to be benign divinities who protected sailors, and they were worshipped in many coastal towns of classical Greece. They lived in the depths of the sea, in the palace of their father, sitting on thrones of gold. In the iconographic representations that have been made of them, they tend to be seen playing among the waves of the sea or accompanying Neptune.

Location

Casa Llotja de Mar

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