The Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona displays the coat of arms of Pope Innocent X (r. 1644-55).
Innocent X was a member of the Pamphilj family, whose coat of arms sports three fleur-de-lys and a dove with an olive branch in its beak. The latter is a reference to the dove which Noah 'sent forth...to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground'. The dove returns having 'found no rest for the sole of her foot'. Seven days later Noah once again 'sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off'. The Pope's motto was Allevitæ Sunt Aquæ Super Terram (The Waters are Lifted Above the Earth).
The dove also appears on both the exterior and interior of the church of Sant' Agnese in Agone, which stands in the shadow of the fountain, and on the Palazzo Pamphilj (now the home of the Brazilian embassy), which is situated to the left of the church.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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