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Versailles: Jardins du Château de Versailles - Les Bassins des Lézards | by wallyg
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Versailles: Jardins du Château de Versailles - Les Bassins des Lézards

The east-west axis, comprised of la Fontaine de Latone (Fountain of Latona) and the les bassins des lézards (lizard fountains), was designed by Le Nôtre and constructed between 1663 and 1666, at the cost of considerable excavation work. Balthazar and Gaspard Marcy carved the metamorposed Lycian peasants picking reeds in each of the two Lizard fountains.


The Latona Fountain depicts Latona (Lētṓ in Greek), the daughter of titans Coeus and Phoebe, holding her children, Apollo and Diana (or Artemis), imploring their father Jupiter (or Zeus) to avenege the ridcule of the Lycian peasants. Juno (or Hera), Jupiter's wife, jealous of Latona for bearing his children, realizing that the offspring would cement a new order, banned her from giving birth on "terra firma"--the mainland, any island at sea, or any place under the sun. She found the island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island, and gave birth there. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, when Leto was wandering the earth after giving birth, she attempted to drink water and bathe from a pure spring in the province Lycia. The peasants protested by stirring the mud at the bottom of the pond, and driving her out with insults. Enraged, Latona, cried out to Jupiter, who turned them into frogs. The metamorphosis of the peasants is depicted on the bottom three tiers--the first with semi-metamorphosed peasants and frogs, and the 2nd and 3rd with fully-metamorphosed frogs.

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Taken on September 11, 2007