Designed by Charles Le Brun, the court painter of Louis IV and built between 1668 and 1671 by Roman Sculptor Tuby, the classic Fountain of Apollo is located at the famous Palace of Versailles in France. The wonderful fountain, locally known as Le Bassin d'Apollo, is in fact, an impressive collection of statues, which greets the visitors in an artificial pond dug directly in front of the Grand Canal and facing the Chateau.
By the order of Louis XIII a pond was dug on the site of the fountain in 1639, which the King named the Pond of the Swans. Later, when King Louis XIV enlarged the pond in 1671, its east-west orientation and the common association of the King with Apollo, prompted Charles Le Brun to suggest the King about dedicating the pond to the Sun god Apollo.
The Fountain of Apollo features the Greek Sun god Apollo rising from the depth of the sea at the daybreak in his four-horse chariot and led by four leaping dolphins and an equal number of tritons, blowing conch shells to announce the arrival of the new day. Actually, the theme of the dawn was very much popular in those days, which is evident from some painted ceilings in European palaces. Nevertheless, sculptor Tuby made the monumental group in a factory and transported it to Versailles. After that, it was put in place and gilded the following year. The massive fountain was installed in 1671, but it incorrectly depicts Apollo rising in the west rather than the east.
Fountain of Apollo is one of the most attractive fountains at the Gardens of Versailles. During summer days, one can enjoy its enchanting grace, as the fountains are turned on with the musical shows. During winter months it is less ideal for viewing, as water supply is turned off, though it gives the visitor a chance to view the structure clearly.
It is interesting to note that, a replica of the Fountain of Apollo, installed at the entrance of the Chimei Museum in Tainan, Taiwan in 2014, correctly depicts Apollo rising from the east. French artist Gills Perrault was commissioned by the museum authority in 2008 to reproduce the Fountain of Apollo, same as the one in the Palace of Versailles. It took three years for modern laser measuring and the plaster mold in Paris, in addition to another three years to carve the marbles in Carrara, Italy. .