The Corinthian order is the last developed of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric order which was the earliest, followed by the Ionic order. 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. This architectural style is characterized by slender fluted columns and elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. There are many variations.
The name Corinthian is derived from the ancient Greek city of Corinth, although the style had its own model in Roman practice, following precedents set by the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus (c. 2 AD). It was 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 AD) the "column of Phocas" (re-erected in Late Antiquity but 2nd century in origin), and the "Temple of Bacchus" at Baalbek (c. 150 AD).
The Corinthian order is named for the Greek city-state of Corinth, to which it was connected in the period. However, according to the architectural historian Vitruvius, the column was created by the sculptor Callimachus, probably an Athenian, who drew acanthus leaves growing around a votive basket. Its earliest use can be traced back to the Late Classical Period (430–323 BC). The earliest Corinthian capital was found in Bassae, dated at 427 BC.
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 is more slender, and 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. Corinthian columns were erected on the top level of the Roman Colosseum, holding up the least weight, and also having the slenderest ratio of thickness to height. Their height to width ratio is about 10:1.
One variant is the Tivoli Order, found at the Temple of Vesta, Tivoli. The Tivoli Order's Corintinan Capital has two rows of Acanthus (ornament) and its abacus is decorated with oversize fleuron (architectural) in the form of hibiscus flowers with pronounced spiral pistils. The column flutes have flat tops. The frieze exhibits fruit swag (motif) suspended between bucrania. Above each swag is a rosette (design). The cornice does not have modillions.
Indo-Corinthian capitals are capitals crowning columns or pilasters, which can be found in the northwestern Indian subcontinent, and usually combine Hellenistic and Indian elements. These capitals are typically dated to the 1st centuries of our era, and constitute important elements of Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.
The classical design was often adapted, usually taking a more elongated form, and sometimes being combined with scrolls, generally within the context of Buddhist stupas and temples. Indo-Corinthian capitals also incorporated figures of the Buddha or Bodhisattvas, usually as central figures surrounded, and often in the shade, of the luxurious foliage of Corinthian designs.
During the first flush of the Italian Renaissance, the Florentine architectural theorist Francesco di Giorgio expressed the human analogies that writers who followed Vitruvius often associated with the human form, in squared drawings he made of the Corinthian capital overlaid with human heads, to show the proportions common to both.
The Corinthian architrave is divided in two or three sections, which may be equal, or may bear interesting proportional relationships, to one with another. Above the plain, unadorned architrave lies the frieze, which may be richly carved with a continuous design or left plain, as at the U.S. Capitol extension (illustration, right). At the Capitol the proportions of architrave to frieze are exactly 1:1. Above that, the profiles of the cornice moldings are like those of the Ionic order. If the cornice is very deep, it may be supported by brackets or modillions, which are ornamental brackets used in a series under a cornice.
The Corinthian column is almost always fluted, and the flutes of a Corinthian column may be enriched. They may be filleted, with rods nestled within the hollow flutes, or stop-fluted, with the rods rising a third of the way, to where the entasis begins. In French, these are called chandelles and sometimes terminate in carved wisps of flame, or with bellflowers. Alternatively, beading or chains of husks may take the place of the fillets in the fluting, Corinthian being the most flexible of the orders, with more opportunities for variation.
Elaborating upon an offhand remark when Vitruvius accounted for the origin of its acanthus capital, it became a commonplace to identify the Corinthian column with the slender figure of a young girl; in this mode the classicizing French painter Nicolas Poussin wrote to his friend Fréart de Chantelou in 1642
The beautiful girls whom you will have seen in Nîmes will not, I am sure, have delighted your spirit any less than the beautiful columns of Maison Carrée for the one is no more than an old copy of the other.
Sir William Chambers expressed the conventional comparison with the Doric order:
The proportions of the orders were by the ancients formed on those of the human body, and consequently, it could not be their intention to make a Corithian column, which, as Vitruvius observes, is to represent the delicacy of a young girl, as thick and much taller than a Doric one, which is designed to represent the bulk and vigour of a muscular full grown man.
The oldest known example of a Corinthian column is in the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae in Arcadia, c. 450–420 BC. It is not part of the order of the temple itself, which has a Doric colonnade surrounding the temple and an Ionic order within the cella enclosure. A single Corinthian column stands free, centered within the cella. This is a mysterious feature, and archaeologists debate what this shows: some state that it is simply an example of a votive column. A few examples of Corinthian columns in Greece during the next century are all used inside temples. A more famous example, and the first documented use of the Corinthian order on the exterior of a structure, is the circular Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, erected c. 334 BC.
A Corinthian capital carefully buried in antiquity in the foundations of the circular tholos at Epidaurus was recovered during modern archaeological campaigns. Its enigmatic presence and preservation have been explained as a sculptor's model for stonemasons to follow in erecting the temple dedicated to Asclepius. The architectural design of the building was credited in antiquity to the sculptor Polykleitos the Younger, son of the Classical Greek sculptor Polykleitos the Elder. The temple was erected in the 4th century BC. These capitals, in one of the most-visited sacred sites of Greece, influenced later Hellenistic and Roman designs for the Corinthian order. The concave sides of the abacus meet at a sharp keel edge, easily damaged, which in later and post-Renaissance practice has generally been replaced by a canted corner. Behind the scrolls the spreading cylindrical form of the central shaft is plainly visible.
Much later, the Roman writer Vitruvius (c. 75 BC – c. 15 BC) related that the Corinthian order had been invented by Callimachus, a Greek architect and sculptor who was inspired by the sight of a votive basket that had been left on the grave of a young girl. A few of her toys were in it, and a square tile had been placed over the basket, to protect them from the weather. An acanthus plant had grown through the woven basket, mixing its spiny, deeply cut leaves with the weave of the basket.
Claude Perrault incorporated a vignette epitomizing the Callimachus tale in his illustration of the Corinthian order for his translation of Vitruvius, published in Paris, 1684 (illustration, right). Perrault demonstrates in his engraving how the proportions of the carved capital could be adjusted according to demands of the design, without offending. The texture and outline of Perrault's leaves is dry and tight compared to their 19th-century naturalism at the U.S. Capitol (below, right). A Corinthian capital may be seen as an enriched development of the Ionic capital, though one may have to look closely at a Corinthian capital (illustration, right) to see the Ionic volutes ("helices"), at the corners, perhaps reduced in size and importance, scrolling out above the two ranks of stylized acanthus leaves and stalks ("cauliculi" or caulicoles), eight in all, and to notice that smaller volutes scroll inwards to meet each other on each side. The leaves may be quite stiff, schematic and dry, or they may be extravagantly drilled and undercut, naturalistic and spiky. In Late Antique and Byzantine practice, the leaves may be blown sideways, as if by the wind of Faith. Unlike the Doric and Ionic column capitals, a Corinthian capital has no neck beneath it, just a ring-like astragal molding or a banding that forms the base of the capital, recalling the base of the legendary basket.
Most buildings (and most clients) are satisfied with just two orders. When orders are superposed one above another, as they are at the Flavian Amphitheater—the Colosseum—the natural progression is from sturdiest and plainest (Doric) at the bottom, to slenderest and richest (Corinthian) at the top. The Colosseum's topmost tier has an unusual order that came to be known as the Composite order during the 16th century. The mid-16th-century Italians, especially Sebastiano Serlio and Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, who established a canonic version of the orders, thought they detected a "Composite order", combining the volutes of the Ionic with the foliage of the Corinthian, but in Roman practice volutes were almost always present.
In Romanesque and Gothic architecture, where the Classical system had been replaced by a new esthetic composed of arched vaults springing from columns, the Corinthian capital was still retained. It might be severely plain, as in the typical Cistercian architecture (illustration right), which encouraged no distraction from liturgy and ascetic contemplation, or in other contexts it could be treated to numerous fanciful variations, even on the capitals of a series of columns or colonettes within the same system.
During the 16th century, a sequence of engravings of the orders in architectural treatises helped standardize their details within rigid limits. Sebastiano Serlio; the Regola delli cinque ordini of Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (1507–1573); the Quattro libri di Architettura of Andrea Palladio, and Vincenzo Scamozzi's Idea della Architettura Universale, were followed in the 17th century by French treatises with further refined engraved models, such as Perrault's.
The architecture of ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people (Hellenic people) whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Anatolia and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around 600 BC.Ancient Greek architecture is best known from its temples, many of which are found throughout the region, and the parthenon is a prime example of this, mostly as ruins but many substantially intact. The second important type of building that survives all over the Hellenic world is the open-air theatre, with the earliest dating from around 525-480 BC. Other architectural forms that are still in evidence are the processional gateway (propylon), the public square (agora) surrounded by storied colonnade (stoa), the town council building (bouleuterion), the public monument, the monumental tomb (mausoleum) and the stadium.
Ancient Greek architecture is distinguished by its highly formalised characteristics, both of structure and decoration. This is particularly so in the case of temples where each building appears to have been conceived as a sculptural entity within the landscape, most often raised on high ground so that the elegance of its proportions and the effects of light on its surfaces might be viewed from all angles. Nikolaus Pevsner refers to "the plastic shape of the [Greek] temple ... placed before us with a physical presence more intense, more alive than that of any later building".The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the division of architectural style into three defined orders: the Doric Order, the Ionic Order and the Corinthian Order, was to have profound effect on Western architecture of later periods. The architecture of ancient Rome grew out of that of Greece and maintained its influence in Italy unbroken until the present day. From the Renaissance, revivals of Classicism have kept alive not only the precise forms and ordered details of Greek architecture, but also its concept of architectural beauty based on balance and proportion. The successive styles of Neoclassical architecture and Greek Revival architecture followed and adapted Ancient Greek styles closely.Arch of Tiberius
The Arch of Tiberius ("'Arcus Tiberi'") was a triumphal arch built in 16 AD in the Forum Romanum to celebrate the recovery of the eagle standards that had been lost to Germanic tribes by Varus in 9. The Roman general Germanicus had recovered the standards in 15 or 16.The Arch spanned the Vicus Jugarius between the Temple of Saturn and the Basilica Julia. It was dedicated to the emperor Tiberius because in the Imperial period only the emperor could celebrate a Triumph, so the victory of Germanicus was celebrated as a triumph of Tiberius. Very little is known about this monument. It is mentioned in literary sources, and it is known from a relief on the Arch of Constantine. It appears to have been a single arch, like the later Arch of Titus, flanked by two columns of the Corinthian order. The foundations of the Arch have been found on the Forum, but nothing is visible.Arkwright House, Manchester
Arkwright House is a Grade-II listed building in Manchester, England. Designed by local architects, Harry S. Fairhurst, it was completed by 1937 for the English Sewing Cotton Company. Arkwright House is built in a neo-classical style with some art deco motifs which was widely prominent during the 1930s.
Arkwright House was heavily damaged in the 1992 Manchester bombing and needed work to repair the building. It is marked by it giant Corinthian order columns and the use of Portland stone as the exterior. The building has been described as 'sinister' by one architecture critic, suggesting it shares some similarities with Nazi architecture where classical buildings were preferred. Hartwell describes the front façade facing Parsonage Gardens as architecturally 'impressive'.Balmoral Court
Balmoral Court, also known as The Balmoral, is a historic apartment complex located at Indianapolis, Indiana. The complex was built in 1916, and consists of three, 2 1/2-story, Colonial Revival / Georgian Revival style townhouse blocks. The blocks are arranged around a central courtyard and are topped by gable roofs with dormers. The building at the end of the courtyard features a pedimented portico with Corinthian order columns.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.Capital (architecture)
In architecture the capital (from the Latin caput, or "head") or chapiter forms the topmost member of a column (or a pilaster). It mediates between the column and the load thrusting down upon it, broadening the area of the column's supporting surface. The capital, projecting on each side as it rises to support the abacus, joins the usually square abacus and the usually circular shaft of the column. The capital may be convex, as in the Doric order; concave, as in the inverted bell of the Corinthian order; or scrolling out, as in the Ionic order. These form the three principal types on which all capitals in the classical tradition are based. The Composite order (illustration, right), established in the 16th century on a hint from the Arch of Titus, adds Ionic volutes to Corinthian acanthus leaves.
From the highly visible position it occupies in all colonnaded monumental buildings, the capital is often selected for ornamentation; and is often the clearest indicator of the architectural order. The treatment of its detail may be an indication of the building's date.Choragic Monument of Lysicrates
The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates near the Acropolis of Athens was erected by the choregos Lysicrates, a wealthy patron of musical performances in the Theater of Dionysus, to commemorate the award of first prize in 335/334 BCE to one of the performances he had sponsored. The choregos was the sponsor who paid for and supervised the training of the dramatic dance-chorus.
The monument is known as the first use of the Corinthian order on the exterior of a building. It has been reproduced widely in modern monuments and building elements.Classical order
An order in architecture is a certain assemblage of parts subject to uniform established proportions, regulated by the office that each part has to perform.
Coming down to the present from Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman civilization, the architectural orders are the styles of classical architecture, each distinguished by its proportions and characteristic profiles and details, and most readily recognizable by the type of column employed. The three orders of architecture—the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—originated in Greece. To these the Romans added, in practice if not in name, the Tuscan, which they made simpler than Doric, and the Composite, which was more ornamental than the Corinthian. The architectural order of a classical building is akin to the mode or key of classical music; the grammar or rhetoric of a written composition. It is established by certain modules like the intervals of music, and it raises certain expectations in an audience attuned to its language.Whereas the orders were essentially structural in Ancient Greek architecture, which made little use of the arch until its late period, in Roman architecture where the arch was often dominant, the orders became increasingly decorative elements except in porticos and similar uses. Columns shrank into half-columns emerging from walls or turned into pilasters. This treatment continued after the conscious and "correct" use of the orders, initially following exclusively Roman models, returned in the Italian Renaissance. Greek Revival architecture, inspired by increasing knowledge of Greek originals, returned to more authentic models, including ones from relatively early periods.Column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support (the shaft of the column) with a capital and a base or pedestal which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed "columns" because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, "column" refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are "engaged", that is to say form part of a wall.Composite order
The composite order is a mixed order, combining the volutes of the Ionic order capital with the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order. In many versions the composite order volutes are larger, however, and there is generally some ornament placed centrally between the volutes. The column of the composite order is typically ten diameters high, though as with all the orders these details may be adjusted by the architect for particular buildings. The Composite order is essentially treated as Corinthian except for the capital, with no consistent differences to that above or below the capital. The composite order is not found in ancient Greek architecture and until the Renaissance was not ranked as a separate order. Instead it was considered as an imperial Roman form of the Corinthian order. Though the Arch of Titus, in the forum in Rome and built in 82 AD, is sometimes cited as the first prominent surviving example of a composite order, the order was probably invented "a little before Augustus's reign, and certainly well-developed before his death, the very time when the Roman version of Corinthian was being established."With the Tuscan order, a simplified version of the Doric order, also found in ancient Roman architecture but not included by Vitruvius in his three orders, the Composite was added by Renaissance writers to make five classical orders. Sebastiano Serlio (1475–1554) published his book I sette libri d'architettura in 1537 in which he was the second to mention the composite order as its own order and not just as an evolution of the Corinthian order as previously suggested by Leon Battista Alberti. Leon Battista Alberti in his De re aedificatoria (English: On the Art of Building) mentions the composite order, calling it "Italic".Corinthian leather
Corinthian leather is a term coined by the advertising agency Bozell to describe the upholstery used in certain Chrysler luxury vehicles. The term first appeared in advertising in 1974. Although this is merely a marketing concept, it suggests that the term—not the product—was inspired from the more elaborate and impressive ancient Greek column of the Corinthian order.
While the term was first used during the marketing campaign for the 1974 Imperial LeBaron, it is usually associated with the marketing campaign beginning with the 1975 Cordoba and that campaign's celebrity spokesperson, Ricardo Montalbán, who described the thickly-cushioned luxury of seats "available even in fine (alternately, "soft") (alternately, "rich" ) Corinthian leather".Despite the exotic origin suggested by the name "Corinthian leather", much of the leather used in Chrysler vehicles during the era originated from a supplier located outside Newark, New Jersey.Some sources say the term refers to the combination of leather seating surfaces and vinyl seat sides. However, most cars worldwide with "leather upholstery" have matching color vinyl seat bases and often the rear faces of the front seats, the head rests, and the door facings. The standard term in period car catalogs was "leather with vinyl", and sometimes "leather seat facings". When Montalban was asked by David Letterman on Late Night with David Letterman what the term meant, the actor playfully admitted that the term meant nothing.. Also, the term has been used in the entertainment industry, said by actor Ryan Reynolds in the movie including himself as Wade Wilson in Deadpool.Delaware Flats
Delaware Flats is a historic apartment building located at Indianapolis, Indiana. It was built in 1887, and is a three-story, ten bay wide, Classical Revival style painted brick and limestone building. The first floor has commercial storefronts with cast iron framing. The upper stories feature two-story blank arches with Corinthian order pilasters.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It is located in the Washington Street-Monument Circle Historic District.Edemar
"Edemar", also known as Stifel Fine Arts Center, is a historic house and national historic district located at Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia. The district includes two contributing buildings and two contributing structures. The main house was built between 1910 and 1914, and is a 2 1⁄2-story, brick-and-concrete Classical Revival mansion with a steel frame. The front facade features a full-width portico with pediment supported by six Corinthian order columns. Also on the property are a contributing brick, tiled-roofed three-bay carriage barn/garage; fish pond; and formal garden. The Stifel family occupied the home until 1976, when the family gave it to the Oglebay Institute to be used as the Stifel Fine Arts Center.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.Entablature
An entablature (; nativization of Italian intavolatura, from in "in" and tavola "table") is the superstructure of moldings and bands which lies horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture, and are commonly divided into the architrave (the supporting member immediately above; equivalent to the lintel in post and lintel construction), the frieze (an unmolded strip that may or may not be ornamented), and the cornice (the projecting member below the pediment). The Greek and Roman temples are believed to be based on wooden structures, the design transition from wooden to stone structures being called petrification.L.S. Ayres Annex Warehouse
L.S. Ayres Annex Warehouse, also known as Elliott's Block Nos. 14-22, is a historic warehouse building located at Indianapolis, Indiana. It was built in 1875 by the L.S. Ayres department store, and is a three-story, rectangular Italianate style brick building with an elaborate cast iron first story storefront. Other decorative elements are in stone, brick, and sheet metal. It measures 72 feet, 6 inches, wide and 49 feet, 6 inches, deep. It features Corinthian order columns as part of the cast iron facade.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.Old Southport High School
Old Southport High School, also known as the Old Southport Middle School, is a historic high school building located at Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. It was built in 1930, and is a two-story, "U"-shaped, Colonial Revival style steel frame and concrete building sheathed in red brick with limestone detailing. It has a side gabled roof topped by an octagonal cupola. The front facade features a grand portico supported by six Corinthian order columns.It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.Philippeion
The Philippeion (Greek: Φιλιππεῖον) in the Altis of Olympia was an Ionic circular memorial in limestone and marble, a tholos, which contained chryselephantine (ivory and gold) statues of Philip's family; himself, Alexander the Great, Olympias, Amyntas III and Eurydice I. It was made by the Athenian sculptor Leochares in celebration of Philip's victory at the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC). It was the only structure inside the Altis dedicated to a human.
The temple consisted of an outer colonnade of Ionic order with 18 columns. Inside, it had nine engaged half-columns of the lavishly- designed Corinthian order. It had a diameter of 15 metres. The naos contains two windows, much like Hera II at Paestum. It had a carved marble roof which was decorated with a bronze poppy head on top. The importance of the chryselephantine material used is that it was also the material used for the statue of Zeus also at Olympus (Comparing the Macedonian royal family to the gods). The fact Alexander is represented here is also important, as Philip had seven wives so after his death there very well could have been claims to the throne by people other than Alexander. By putting Alexander in the statue it makes it clear who his successor should be. It is however disputed whether or not Philip constructed this monument or whether Alexander had it constructed later in which case the motives would be different.Reserve Loan Life Insurance Company
Reserve Loan Life Insurance Company is a historic commercial building located at Indianapolis, Indiana. It was built in 1924-1925, and is a four-story, Classical Revival style reinforced concrete building, with a three-story, white marble temple front. It features Corinthian order columns. The building was rehabilitated in 1987. Additional stories were added later and the building converted to a condominium complex.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church
St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church Complex is a historic Roman Catholic church complex located in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens County, New York. The church was built in 1926, and is an Italian Renaissance Revival style, brick, stone, and terra cotta church with a gable roof. It features a three-stage bell tower at the projecting center bay and Corinthian order columns. Also on the property are the contributing four-story rectory (1910), school (1909, 1913, 1950), and convent (1914).It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.Volute
A volute is a spiral, scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, found in the capital of the Ionic column. It was later incorporated into Corinthian order and Composite column capitals. Four are normally to be found on an Ionic capital, eight on Composite capitals and smaller versions (sometimes called helix) on the Corinthian capital.The word derives from the Latin voluta ("scroll"). It has been suggested that the ornament was inspired by the curve of a ram's horns, or perhaps was derived from the natural spiral found in the ovule of a common species of clover native to Greece. Alternatively, it may simply be of geometrical origin.The ornament can be seen in Renaissance and Baroque architecture and is a common decoration in furniture design, silverware and ceramics. A method of drawing the complex geometry was devised by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius through the study of classical buildings and structures.