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Together with Cibeles Fountain, Neptuno Fountain is one of the most beautiful and majestic fountains in Madrid. Both gods occupy prominent positions within Greek mythological hierarchy and are rivals on the sports field, since the followers of Atlético de Madrid celebrate their victories in the square that plays tribute to the god of the sea, while those of Real Madrid do so in the Plaza de la Cibeles.
As part of the original project of Ventura Rodríguez, both fountains were placed facing each other on either side of the Paseo del Prado. At the end of the 19th century, both Cibeles and Neptuno underwent a restoration process and were moved, finally occupying the centre of the squares Plaza de la Cibeles and Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, respectively.
The authorship of the sculpture is not very clear, since it was commissioned to sculptor Juan Pascual de Mena, who died before the completion of the piece; however, documents exist which indicate the work was continued by his apprentice José Arias. Regarding the whole monument, a carriage in the form of a shell emerges from a rocky base and is pulled by two hippocampi, symbol of storms and agitated sea. The sculpture represents the god of the sea with his trident upon a chariot, pulled by two sea horses.
Together with the fountain of Apolo, or the Four Seasons, and that of Cibeles, it formed part of the decoration for the 'Salón del Prado' exhibition, a project commissioned by King Charles III. Plaza de Neptuno occupies a central spot in the Paseo del Prado, where the Westin Palace and the Ritz -two of Madrid's most historic hotels- are situated.