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Water for Everyone

Running drinking water for everyone, right in the middle of a 14th century town – now that was luxury. Even today, the Schöner Brunnen – the Beautiful Fountain – graces Nuremberg’s main market, a tourist attraction that symbolizes the Fountain of Life. Its iconography echoes a late medieval worldview, and from a present-day perspective, it represents a remarkable openness to the coexistence of religion, politics, and science. 

The importance of the fountain for the city of Nuremberg is reflected as well in the resources devoted to its preservation: it received an expensive refurbishment as early as 1587, when it was gilded with a “gantzen Pfund Goldt” (full pound of gold). Around 1900, the entire fountain was replaced by a reproduction. In order to come as close as possible to the original, the reconstruction had recourse to the first surviving drawing of the fountain. This drawing and sections of the original are preserved today in the GNM.

The Schöner Brunnen (1385-92)

Ca. 1587 (drawing)



» GNM SP8817