Built by order of Philip V of Bourbon with a view to improving the appearance of the town and its water supplies, the Fountain of Fame has undergone numerous changes. The project led to an increase in taxation and on the day it was inaugurated in 1732 the residents of Madrid displayed their traditional good humour by putting up a sign in Latin which read “Deo volente, rege survente et populo contribuyente” (“God willing, the King proposing and the people paying”).
Designed by Pedro de Ribera, it was originally known as the Fountain of Antón Martín, as it stood on the square of the same name, where it witnessed the popular uprising known as the “Revolt of Esquilache”. After a short period in West Park it was moved in 1941 to its present location on Plaza de Pedro de Ribera, near the Municipal Museum.
The monument spirals up from the base, which is held by four mythological dolphins, to a top section where a winged Victory (poised to leave, showing that fame does not last) triumphantly blows a trumpet. The fountain reflects the baroque preoccupation with the passing of time and alludes to the well-known phrase "Carpe diem, carpe horam" (seize the day, seize the hour).