Fontana del Mosè
The Fontana del Mosè was built by Domenico Fontana, by order of Pope Sixtus V, in 1587. It was to be the end point of the new water conduit, the Aqua Felice, which had previously also been built by order of Sixtus V.
The travertine fountain shows scenes from the Old Testament. In the left relief, Aaron leads the people of Israel to the water that springs from the desert. In the right relief, Joshua leads the army to the Red Sea.
The successful facade, in the style of a Roman triumphal arch, contrasts with the 4 m high Moses figure, created by Leonardo Sormani that has been heavily criticized. The model was the Moses statue by Michelangelo, which is exhibited in San Pietro in Vincoli. However, it was significantly inferior to Michelangelo’s work. Legend has it that Moses frowned at its unveiling, out of shame at having been created by an incompetent artist, and that the sculptor of the statue died out of shame at the criticism or even committed suicide.