Pope Innocent X
Fountain of the Four Rivers
Foundation medal for the fountain being erected in the Piazza Navona in Rome. Innocent X's family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faces the piazza. The idea for the fountain, topped by an obelisk, was first proposed in 1647, and the obelisk itself was transferred from the Circus of Maxentius to the site in 1648. While originally given to Borromini, the project was transferred to Bernini. The obelisk, topped by a figure of a dove (the Pamphili family emblem), was raised in 1649, and the four sculptural figures of river gods were installed in 1651. These figures represented the four major rivers of the four continents where papal authority had spread: the Danube (Europe), the Nile (Africe), the Ganges (Asia), and Rio de la Plata (the Americas).