Corinthian order

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The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order. The Corinthian, with its offshoot the Composite, is the most ornate of the orders, characterized by slender fluted columns and an elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls.

The name "Corinthian" is derived from the Greek city of Corinth, although the order first appeared used externally at Athens. Although of Greek origin, the Corinthian order was actually seldom used in Greek architecture. It came into its own in Roman practice, following precedents set by the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus (ca. 2 AD).[1] It is employed in southern Gaul at the Maison Carrée, Nîmes (illustration, below) and at the comparable podium temple at Vienne. Other prime examples noted by Mark Wilson Jones are the lower order of the Basilica Ulpia and the arch at Ancona (both of the reign of Trajan, 98-117) the "column of Phocas" (re-erected in Late Antiquity but 2nd century in origin), and the "Temple of Bacchus" at Baalbek (ca. 150 CE).[2]

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Description

Greek Corinthian order

Roman Corinthian order

Proportion is a defining characteristic of the Corinthian order: the "coherent integration of dimensions and ratios in accordance with the principles of symmetria" are noted by Mark Wilson Jones, who finds that the ratio of total column height to column-shaft height is in a 6:5 ratio, so that, secondarily, the full height of column with capital is often a multiple of 6 Roman feet while the column height itself is a multiple of 5. In its proportions, the Corinthian column is similar to the Ionic column, though it may be made more slender, but it stands apart by its distinctive carved capital. The abacus upon the capital has concave sides to conform to the outscrolling corners of the capital, and it may have a rosette at the center of each side.

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