Artist: Giovanni Battista Falda (Italian, ca. 16401678)
Rome: Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi, 1691
Etching; Overall: 11 x 15 7/8 x 1 5/16 in. (27.9 x 40.4 x 3.4 cm)
Gift of D. W. Langton, transferred from the Library (1991.1073.145.5)
The Villa Aldobrandini belonged to the grandest of Roman Baroque estates, enjoying from its perfect position, high above a set of oval terraces built inside the slope of the Tusculum Hill, a wide view of Frascati and the countryside toward Rome. Begun for Ippolito Aldobrandini (Pope Clement VII) in 1598 and extended by his nephew, Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, the villa and gardens, with their astonishing water displays, were created by a team of well-known architects, including Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, and Domenico Fontana. Of all the magnificent fountains that once graced the gardens, two delightfully sculpted barchetta fountains in the form of a small boat, one of which is illustrated in this print, survive today. They stand on either end of the retaining wall of the oval ramp that embraces the front of the villa complex. The fountains are decorated with playful figures of putti spewing water jets from a central rock and from sconces on either side. The element of water informs the whole Aldobrandini estate, from the semicircular water theater directly behind the house to the dramatic cascade from the steep hill above.