Since 2004, just outside the city walls of Ravenna and near the Shrine of Santa Maria del Torrione, Piazza della Resistenza has been hosting a monumental mosaic fountain designed and realised by Marco Bravura, famous mosaic artist from Ravenna.
The structure, called ARDEA PURPUREA, is 12-metres high and recalls the shape of human DNA.
The overall project is actually made up of two fountains: the first, smaller one, had already been made in 1999 by Marco Bravura in Beirut, Lebanon, as a symbol of rebirth of the city from the ruins of the war. The project was then completed in 2004 with the one in Ravenna, undoubtedly bigger.
Two wings rising up, twisted and parallel, covered with mosaic tesserae that contribute, thanks to sunrays and the fountain’s water spouts, to create a fascinating play of colours, lights and refractions.
The iconography is highly symbolic and inspired by ancient oriental languages. On a gold background, the tiles form characters from the Phoenician alphabet, symbols of Judaism, words in Sanskrit, Aramaic, Greek and ancient Japanese.
Ardea Purpurea is also one of the names given to the Arabian phoenix, from whose ashes life rises again. A metaphor that also applies to mosaic, based on the disintegration and recomposition of matter.
In this work, also emptiness finds a new meaning: the space between the two wings suggesting the figure of an 8, the symbol of infinity. And from the middle of the emptiness rises a jet of water, reminding us that without it there can be no life.
Even the used materials, become more precious, abstract and light as you go upwards, as a symbol of immortality.