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A History of Art for Beginners and Students

Which supports eight small volutes



[Illustration: FIG. 46.--IONIC CAPITAL (SIDE VIEW).]

The shaft of the Ionic column is sometimes plain and sometimes fluted; the flutings number twenty-four, and are separated by a narrow, plain band or fillet. In some ancient examples of the Ionic order the entire entablature is left plain, but in many instances there are bands of carvings, as in the first Ionic example given above; in some modern Italian architecture even more ornament has been added.

The three, or sometimes two, layers or bands of stone which form the Ionic architrave project a little, each one more than the other, and the ornamented band above it serves to separate it from the frieze so as to make these two portions of the entablature quite distinct from each other. The frieze is never divided into set spaces as in the Doric order, but when ornamented has a continuous design in relief.

The lower part of the cornice is frequently cut in little pieces or dentals which form what is called the "tooth-like ornament;" these have the effect of hanging from underneath the cornice. There is a certain pleasing effect in Ionic architecture which, perhaps, appeals to our taste at first sight more forcibly than does the severe elegance of the Doric order. Nevertheless, the latter is a higher type of art, and it is not probable that it can ever

be superseded by any new invention or lose the prestige which it has held so long.


That which is called the Corinthian order differs very little from the Ionic except in the capital, but as this was so prominent a member of the Ionic style, the difference seems greater than it really is. It is therefore not necessary to speak of its parts in detail. The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates at Athens is as good a specimen of the order as remains at this time, and of this we give an illustration (Fig. 47).

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--CORINTHIAN ORDER.]

The Corinthian order of architecture does not belong to the early period of art in Greece. It came after the influence of Oriental architecture had been shown in the Ionic style; and perhaps the beautiful Corinthian capital may have been suggested by the palm-leaf and lotus capitals of Egypt. What has been said of other orders will help you in understanding this; but I shall tell you especially about its capital, as that is its distinguishing feature. The form of the capital may be called bell-shaped, and it is set round with two rows of leaves, eight in each row; above these is a third row of leaves, or of a sort of small twisted husks, which supports eight small volutes. The abacus or top portion of the capital is cut out at the corners so that sharp projections are made, called horns, and one volute comes directly under each horn of the abacus. This cut (Fig. 48) gives a more distinct idea of the capital than does that above, and you will see that four of the volutes really form the upper corners of the capital. The four other volutes meet on two opposite sides of the capital; sometimes they are interwoven, and a flower, or rosette, or some other ornament is placed above them and lays up over the abacus. Different kinds of leaves are used in making this capital; olive, water plant, and acanthus are all thus employed; there is a very pretty legend as to its origin which makes the acanthus seem to be the only one which belongs to it, and is as follows:

It was the custom in Greece to place a basket upon the new-made graves in which were the viands which those there buried had preferred when in life. About 550 B.C. a lovely virgin died at Corinth, and her nurse arranged the basket with care and covered it with a tile. It happened that the basket was set directly over a young acanthus plant, and the leaves grew up about it in such a manner that the sculptor Callimachus was attracted by its grace and beauty, and conceived the idea of using it as a model for a new capital in architecture. I have always been sorry that it was not named for the beautiful maiden rather than for the city in which she was buried.

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