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The bronze figurative group on a cylindrical marble base with the mythological god Amor encircled by a large dolphin, signed 'Poirier'.
This bronze model is based on the design of an original ancient Roman marble fountain, which was discovered in the city of Pompeii. In 79 AD, the volcano Versuvius erupted, causing the neighboring cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum to become submerged under layers of molten lava and ash. Although the volcanic eruption caused devastation for the people of these ancient cities, the thick layers of ash and pumice preserved many ancient objects and architecture. One of these was the ancient marble fountain that provided the model for this bronze. The original marble was found in the remains of an aristocratic family's garden, where it had stood as an ornamental garden fountain that featured the dolphin's open mouth as a waterspout.
The ancient fountain was photographed by William Henry Goodyear (1846-1923) in the late 19th Century (see final photograph above). Goodyear was the first curator of Fine Arts at Brooklyn Museum in New York, and the original photograph of the Pompeian fountain remains in the museum's archives.
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