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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 January 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2018 17 DIATRIBE Virginia State Capitol. Corinthian columns. root of an acanthus. The acanthus root, pressed down meanwhile though it was by the weight, when springtime came round put forth leaves and stalks in the middle, and the stalks, growing up along the sides of the basket, and pressed out by the corners of the tile through the compulsion of its weight, were forced to bend into volutes at the outer edges. Just then Callimachus ... passed by this tomb and observed the basket with the tender young leaves growing round it. Delighted with the novel style and form, he built some columns after that pattern for the Corinthians, determined their symmetrical proportions, and established from that time forth the rules to be followed in finished works of the Corinthian order. (Vitruvius’ On the Corinthian Capital, translated.) Another scholar by the name of William Stearns Davis describes the Corinthian column: “While we look upward at this group of temples and their wealth of sculptures, let us state now something we have noticed during all our walks around Athens, but have hitherto left without comment. Every temple and statue in Athens is not left in its bare white marble, as later ages will conceive is demanded by ‘Greek Architecture’and statuary, but is decked in brilliant colour - ‘painted’ if you will use an almost unfriendly word. The columns and gables and ceilings of the buildings are all painted. Blue, red, green, and gold blaze on all the members and ornaments. The backgrounds of the pediments, metopes, and frieze are tinted some uniform colour on which the sculptured figures in relief stand out clearly. The figures themselves are tinted or painted, at least on the hair, lips, and eyes. Flesh-coloured warriors are fighting upon a bright red background. The armour and horse trappings on the sculptures are in actual bronze. The result is an effect indescribably vivid. Blues and reds predominate: the flush of light and colour from the still more brilliant heavens above adds to the effect. Shall we call it garish? We have learned to know the taste of Athenians too well to doubt their judgment in matters of pure beauty. And they are right.” UNDER AN ATHENIAN SKY Temples and statues demand a wealth of colour which, in a sombre clime, would seem intolerable. The brilliant lines of the Acropolis buildings are the just answer of the Athenian to the brilliancy of Helios. Doesn't this account by Davis remind us of the "wealth of colour" we meet inside the Parliament of Victoria? As a result, and to conclude, below we have in chronological order what is appearing in the initial five ancient column style drawing above (we do not have the exact dates of when each style was firstly designed, however we can deduct from evidence that survived the following): 1. Doric, the most ancient Greek style column design (ca 1,000 BCE) 2. Ionic, the classical Greek style (ca 800 BCE) 3. Tuscan inspired by the two earlier Greek styles in its design (ca 500 BCE) 4. Corinthian, Greek style (ca 300 BCE) 5. Composite combining two other Greek styles in its design and a Roman form of the Corinthian order (ca 82 BCE) PARLIAMENT OF VICTORIA In the history section of the Victorian Parliament website (parliament. vic.gov.au/about/the-parliamentbuilding/history-of-the-building) and in the literature circulated, the building is called the "Roman revival style", without defining what that style is, where it came from, or why it is called Roman, and who named it Roman? Be that as it may, the columns in the Victorian Parliament, at least at Queen's Hall, resemble a Corinthian capital full of colour. Yet, to our amazement, they are called Roman-style columns. This reminds me about another misguided idea: the medal designed and constructed for the 2000 Sydney Olympics by the Olympic Committee, bearing the Roman The Iconic five column capitals depicted in 1734 CE. Colosseum. This building obviously had nothing to do with the Olympics. Luckily for Australia, Professor George Kanarakis from Charles Sturt University uncovered the mistake just before the games for the fear that the Olympics Committee was in danger of calling the Olympics "Roman"! To cut this long story short, we have five ancient column styles as defined in 1537 and 1734, three of distinctive Greek origin (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian) and two of Roman design but with extensive Greek influence and base (Tuscan, Composite). Yet, some are calling all the column styles Roman revival, when in fact if anything we know they're closer to a Greek revival. CONCLUSION The request here is for revised attention and a more detailed definition to the naming of the style for the Victorian Parliament. The exterior columns resemble a Doric order whilst the interior/Queen's Hall upper resembles a Corinthian style order and lower an Ionic order. The Legislative Assembly Chamber also has Ionic style capitals. It is a wellknown fact that any building in the world which is designed with columns at the entrance is said to be copying an Ancient Greek temple. More than that, the meander design at the base of the outer building balconies as well as the fluting on external columns, their Greek Corinthian-style base and the triglyph on the frieze gives this wonderful building created between 1856 and 1893 a Colonnade character not represented by the definition "Roman revival". Roman revival is a generalised characterisation that does not conform to historical or architectural fact. BIBLIOGRAPHY: - T Hamlin, Greek Revival Architecture in America (1944); D. Wiebenson, Sources of Greek Revival Architecture (1969). - Vitruvius, On the Corinthian Capital, Book IV, Chapter 1, translation from Latin. - Columbia University Press, The Columbia Encyclopaedia, 6th ed., 2015. - Sebastio Serlio, Regole generali di architettura sopra le cinque maniere de gli edifice, fourth book, 1537 - William Stearns Davis, A Day in Old Athens, 2013 - P Kerr, The Melbourne Houses of Parliament, Royal Victorian Institute of Architects, 2, 1904 - Library of Congress, online loc.gov/ pictures/item/2004667617/ Jan 2016 - Parliament of Victoria, History of Parliament House, parliament.vic.gov. au/about/the-parliament-building/ history-of-the-building, Jan 2016 - Wikipedia, Etruria, wikipedia. org/wiki/Etruria, Jan 2016 - Wikipedia, Composite order, wikipedia. org/wiki/Composite_order, Jan 2016 - Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Architectural Styles Categories, phmc.state.pa.us/portal/ communities/architecture/styles/ categories.html, Jan 2016.
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