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A History of Greek Art By F. B. Tarbell Characters: 40871

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:03

The supreme achievement of Greek architecture was the temple. In imperial Rome, or in any typical city of the Roman Empire, the most extensive and imposing buildings were secular-basilicas, baths, amphitheaters, porticoes, aqueducts. In Athens, on the other hand, or in any typical Greek city, there was little or nothing to vie with the temples and the sacred edifices associated with them. Public secular buildings, of course, there were, but the little we know of them does not suggest that they often ranked among the architectural glories of the country. Private houses were in the best period of small pretensions. It was to the temple and its adjunct buildings that the architectural genius and the material resources of Greece were devoted. It is the temple, then, which we have above all to study.

Before beginning, however, to analyze the artistic features of the temple, it will be useful to consider the building materials which a Greek architect had at his disposal and his methods of putting them together. Greece is richly provided with good building stone. At many points there are inexhaustible stores of white marble. The island of Paros, one of the Cyclades, and Mount Pentelicus in Attica-to name only the two best and most famous quarries-are simply masses of white marble, suitable as well for the builder as the sculptor. There are besides various beautiful colored marbles, but it was left to the Romans to bring these into use. Then there are many commoner sorts of stone ready to the builder's hand, especially the rather soft, brown limestones which the Greeks called by the general name of poros. [Footnote: The word has no connection with porous] This material was not disdained, even for important buildings. Thus the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, one of the two most important religious centers in the Greek world, was built of local poros. The same was the case with the numerous temples of Acragas (Girgenti) and Selinus in Sicily. An even meaner material, sun-dried brick, was sometimes, perhaps often, employed for cella walls. Where poros or crude brick was used, it was coated over with a very fine, hard stucco, which gave a surface like that of marble.

It is remarkable that no use was made in Greece of baked bricks before the period of Roman domination. Roof-tiles of terra-cotta were in use from an early period, and Greek travelers to Babylonia brought back word of the use of baked bricks in that country. Nevertheless Greek builders showed no disposition to adopt baked bricks for their masonry.

This probably hangs together with another important fact, the absence of lime-mortar from Greek architecture. Lime-stucco was in use from time immemorial. But lime-mortar, i.e., lime mixed with sand and used as a bond for masonry, is all but unknown in Greek work. [Footnote: The solitary exception at present known is an Attic tomb built of crude bricks laid in lime-mortar] Consequently in the walls of temples and other carefully constructed buildings an elaborate system of bonding by means of clamps and dowels was resorted to. Fig. 46 illustrates this and some other points. The blocks of marble are seen to be perfectly rectangular and of uniform length and height. Each end of every block is worked with a slightly raised and well-smoothed border, for the purpose of securing without unnecessary labor a perfectly accurate joint. The shallow holes, III, III, in the upper surfaces are pry-holes, which were of use in prying the blocks into position. The adjustment having been made, contiguous blocks in the same course were bonded to one another by clamps, I, I, embedded horizontally, while the sliding of one course upon another was prevented by upright dowels, II, II. Greek clamps and dowels were usually of iron and they were fixed in their sockets by means of molten lead run in. The form of the clamp differs at different periods. The double-T shape shown in the illustration is characteristic of the best age (cf. also Fig. 48).

Another important fact to be noted at the outset is the absence of the arch from Greek architecture. It is reported by the Roman philosopher, Seneca, that the principle of the arch was "discovered" by the Greek philosopher, Democritus, who lived in the latter half of the fifth century B. C. That he independently discovered the arch as a practical possibility is most unlikely, seeing that it had been used for ages in Egypt and Mesopotamia; but it may be that he discussed, however imperfectly, the mathematical theory of the subject. If so, it would seem likely that he had practical illustrations about him; and this view receives some support from the existence of a few subterranean vaults which perhaps go back to the good Greek period. Be that as it may, the arch plays absolutely no part in the columnar architecture of Greece. In a Greek temple or similar building only the flat ceiling was known. Above the exterior portico and the vestibules of a temple the ceiling was sometimes of stone or marble, sometimes of wood; in the interior it was always of wood. It follows that no very wide space could be ceiled over without extra supports. At Priene in Asia Minor we find a temple (Fig. 49) whose cella, slightly over thirty feet in breadth, has no interior columns. The architect of the Temple of Athena on the island of AEgina (Fig. 52) was less venturesome. Although the cella there is only 21 1/4 feet in breadth, we find, as in large temples, a double row of columns to help support the ceiling. And when a really large room was built, like the Hall of Initiation at Eleusis or the Assembly Hall of the Arcadians at Megalopolis, such a forest of pillars was required as must have seriously interfered with the convenience of congregations. We are now ready to study the plan of a Greek temple. The essential feature is an enclosed chamber, commonly called by the Latin name cella, in which stood, as a rule, the image of the god or goddess to whom the temple was dedicated. Fig. 47 shows a very simple plan. Here the side walls of the cella are prolonged in front and terminate in antae (see below, page 88). Between the antae are two columns. This type of temple is called a templum in antis. Were the vestibule (pronaos) repeated at the other end of the building, it would be called an opisthodomos, and the whole building would be a double templum in antis. In Fig. 48 the vestibules are formed by rows of columns extending across the whole width of the cella, whose side walls are not prolonged. Did a vestibule exist at the front only, the temple would be called prostyle; as it is, it is amphiprostyle. Only small Greek temples have as simple a plan as those just described. Larger temples are peripteral, i.e., are surrounded by a colonnade or peristyle (Figs. 49. 50). In Fig. 49 the cella with its vestibules has the form of a double templum in antis, in Fig 50 it is amphiprostyle. A further difference should be noted. In Fig. 49, which is the plan of an Ionic temple, the antae and columns of the vestibules are in line with columns of the outer row, at both the ends and the sides; in Fig. 50, which is the plan of a Doric temple, the exterior columns are set without regard to the cella wall, and the columns of the vestibules. This is a regular difference between Doric and Ionic temples, though the rule is subject to a few exceptions in the case of the former.

The plan of almost any Greek temple will be found to be referable to one or other of the types just described, although there are great differences in the proportions of the several parts. It remains only to add that in almost every case the principal front was toward the east or nearly so. When Greek temples were converted into Christian churches, as often happened, it was necessary, in order to conform to the Christian ritual, to reverse this arrangement and to place the principal entrance at the western end.

The next thing is to study the principal elements of a Greek temple as seen in elevation. This brings us to the subject of the Greek "orders." There are two principal orders in Greek architecture, the Doric and the Ionic. Figs. 51 and 61 show a characteristic specimen of each. The term "order," it should be said, is commonly restricted in architectural parlance to the column and entablature. Our illustrations, however, show all the features of a Doric and an Ionic facade. There are several points of agreement between the two: in each the columns rest on a stepped base, called the crepidoma, the uppermost step of which is the stylobate; in each the shaft of the column tapers from the lower to the upper end, is channeled or fluted vertically, and is surmounted by a projecting member called a capital; in each the entablature consists of three members-architrave, frieze, and cornice. There the important points of agreement end. The differences will best be fixed in mind by a detailed examination of each order separately.

Our typical example of the Doric order (Fig. 51) is taken from the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina-a temple probably erected about 480 B.C. (cf. Fig. 52.) The column consists of two parts, shaft and capital. It is of sturdy proportions, its height being about five and one half times the lower diameter of the shaft. If the shaft tapered upward at a uniform rate, it would have the form of a truncated cone. Instead of that, the shaft has an ENTASIS or swelling. Imagine a vertical section to be made through the middle of the column. If, then, the diminution of the shaft were uniform, the sides of this section would be straight lines. In reality, however, they are slightly curved lines, convex outward. This addition to the form of a truncated cone is the entasis. It is greatest at about one third or one half the height of the shaft, and there amounts, in cases that have been measured, to from 1/80 to 1/140 of the lower diameter of the shaft.[Footnote: Observe that the entasis is so slight that the lowest diameter of the shaft is always the greatest diameter. The illustration is unfortunately not quite correct, since it gives the shaft a uniform diameter for about one third of its height.] In some early Doric temples, as the one at Assos in Asia Minor, there is no entasis. The channels or flutes in our typical column are twenty in number. More rarely we find sixteen; much more rarely larger multiples of four. These channels are so placed that one comes directly under the middle of each face of the capital. They are comparatively shallow, and are separated from one another by sharp edges or ARRISES. The capital, though worked out of one block, may be regarded as consisting of two parts-a cushion- shaped member called an ECHINUS, encircled below by three to five ANNULETS, (cf. Figs. 59, 60) and a square slab called an ABACUS, the latter so placed that its sides are parallel to the sides of the building. The ARCHITRAVE is a succession of horizontal beams resting upon the columns. The face of this member is plain, except that along the upper edge there runs a slightly projecting flat band called a TAENIA, with regulae and guttae at equal intervals; these last are best considered in connection with the frieze. The FRIEZE is made up of alternating triglyphs and metopes. A TRIGLYPH is a block whose height is nearly twice its width; upon its face are two furrows, triangular in plan, and its outer edges are chamfered off. Thus we may say that the triglyph has two furrows and two half-furrows; these do not extend to the top of the block. A triglyph is placed over the center of each column and over the center of each intercolumniation. But at the corners of the buildings the intercolumniations are diminished, with the result that the corner triglyphs do not stand over the centers of the corner columns, but farther out (cf. Fig. 52). Under each triglyph there is worked upon the face of the architrave, directly below the taenia, a REGULA, shaped like a small cleat, and to the under surface of this regula is attached a row of six cylindrical or conical GUTTAE. Between every two triglyphs, and standing a little farther back, there is a square or nearly square slab or block called a METOPE. This has a flat band across the top; for the rest, its face may be either plain or sculptured in relief. The uppermost member of the entablature, the CORNICE, consists principally of a projecting portion, the CORONA, on whose inclined under surface or soffit are rectangular projections, the so-called MUTULES (best seen in the frontispiece), one over each triglyph and each metope. Three rows of six guttae each are attached to the under surface of a mutule. Above the cornice, at the east and west ends of the building, come the triangular PEDIMENTS or gables, formed by the sloping roof and adapted for groups of sculpture. The pediment is protected above by a "raking" cornice, which has not the same form as the horizontal cornice, the principal difference being that the under surface of the raking cornice is concave and without mutules. Above the raking cornice comes a SIMA or gutter-facing, which in buildings of good period has a curvilinear profile. This sima is sometimes continued along the long sides of the building, and sometimes not. When it is so continued, water-spouts are inserted into it at intervals, usually in the form of lions' heads. Fig 53 shows a fine lion's head of this sort from a sixth century temple on the Athenian Acropolis. If it be added that upon the apex and the lower corners of the pediment there were commonly pedestals which supported statues or other ornamental objects (Fig. 52), mention will have been made of all the main features of the exterior of a Doric peripteral temple.

Every other part of the building had likewise its established form, but it will not be possible here to describe or even to mention every detail. The most important member not yet treated of is the ANTA. An anta may be described as a pilaster forming the termination of a wall. It stands directly opposite a column and is of the same height with it, its function being to receive one end of an architrave block, the other end of which is borne by the column. The breadth of its front face is slightly greater than the thickness of the wall; the breadth of a side face depends upon whether or not the anta supports an architrave on that side (Figs. 47, 48, 49, 50). The Doric anta has a special capital, quite unlike the capital of the column. Fig. 54 shows an example from a building erected in 437-32 B. C. Its most striking feature is the DORIC CYMA, or HAWK'S-BEAK MOLDING, the characteristic molding of the Doric style (Fig. 55), used also to crown the horizontal cornice and in other situations (Fig. 51 and frontispiece). Below the capital the anta is treated precisely like the wall of which it forms a part; that is to say, its surfaces are plain, except for the simple base-molding, which extends also along the foot of the wall. The method of ceiling the peristyle and vestibules by means of ceiling-beams on which rest slabs decorated with square, recessed panels or COFFERS may be indistinctly seen in Fig. 56. Within the cella, when columns were used to help support the wooden ceiling, there seem to have been regularly two ranges, one above the other. This is the only case, so far as we know, in which Greek architecture of the best period put one range of columns above another. There were probably no windows of any kind, so that the cella received no daylight, except such as entered by the great front doorway, when the doors were open. [Footnote: This whole matter, however, is in dispute. Some authorities believe that large temples were HYPOETHRAL, i. e., open, or partly open, to the sky, or in some way lighted from above. In Fig. 56 an open grating has been inserted above the doors, but for such an arrangement in a Greek temple there is no evidence, so far as I am aware.] The roof-beams were of wood. The roof was covered with terra-cotta or marble tiles.

Such are the main features of a Doric temple (those last mentioned not being peculiar to the Doric style). Little has been said thus far of variation in these features. Yet variation there was. Not to dwell on local differences, as between Greece proper and the Greek colonies in Sicily, there was a development constantly going on, changing the forms of details and the relative proportions of parts and even introducing new features originally foreign to the style. Thus the column grows slenderer from century to century. In early examples it is from four to five lower diameters in height in the best period (fifth and fourth centuries) about five and one half, in the post classical period, six to seven. The difference in this respect between early and late examples may be seen by comparing the sixth century Temple of Posidon (?) at Paestum in southern Italy (Fig. 57) with the third (?) century Temple of Zeus at Nemea (Fig. 58). Again, the echinus of the capital is in the early period widely flaring, making in some very early examples an angle at the start of not more than fifteen or twenty degrees with the horizontal (Fig. 59); in the best period it rises more steeply, starting at an angle of about fifty degrees with the horizontal and having a profile which closely approaches a straight line, until it curves inward under the abacus (Fig. 51); in the post-classical period it is low and sometimes quite conical (Fig. 60). In general, the degeneracy of post-classical Greek architecture is in nothing more marked than in the loss of those subtle curves which characterize the best Greek work. Other differences must be learned from more extended treatises.

The Ionic order was of a much more luxuriant character than the Doric. Our typical example (Fig. 61) is taken from the Temple of Priene in Asia Minor-a temple erected about 340-30 B. C. The column has a base consisting of a plain square PLINTH, two TROCHILI with moldings, and a TORUS fluted horizontally. The Ionic shaft is much slenderer than the Doric, the height of the column (including base and capital) being in different examples from eight to ten times the lower diameter of the shaft. The diminution of the shaft is naturally less than in the Doric, and the entasis, where any has been detected, is exceedingly slight. The flutes, twenty-four in number, are deeper than in the Doric shaft, being in fact nearly or quite semicircular, and they are separated from one another by flat bands or fillets. For the form of the capital it will be better to refer to Fig. 62, taken from an Attic building of the latter half of the fifth century. The principal parts are an OVOLO and a SPIRAL ROLL (the latter name not in general use). The ovolo has a convex profile, and is sometimes called a quarter-round; it is enriched with an EGG-AND-DART ornament The spiral roll may be conceived as a long cushion, whose ends are rolled under to form the VOLUTES. The part connecting the volutes is slightly hollowed, and the channel thus formed is continued into the volutes. As seen from the side (Fig. 63), the end of the spiral roll is called a BOLSTER; it has the appearance of being drawn together by a number of encircling bands. On the front, the angles formed by the spiral roll are filled by a conventionalized floral ornament (the so-called PALMETTE). Above the spiral roll is a low abacus, oblong or square in plan. In Fig. 62 the profile of the abacus is an ovolo on which the egg-and-dart ornament was painted (cf. Fig. 66, where the ornament is sculptured). In Fig. 61, as in Fig. 71, the profile is a complex curve called a CYMA REVERSA, convex above and concave below, enriched with a sculptured LEAF-AND-DART ornament. [Footnote: The egg-and-dart is found only on the ovolo, the leaf-and-dart only on the cyma reversa or the cyma recta (concave above and convex below) Both ornaments are in origin leaf-patterns one row of leaves showing their points behind another row.] Finally, attention may be called to the ASTRAGAL or PEARL-BEADING just under the ovolo in Figs. 61, 71. This might be described as a string of beads and buttons, two buttons alternating with a single bead.

In the normal Ionic capital the opposite faces are of identical appearance. If this were the case with the capital at the corner of a building, the result would be that on the side of the building all the capitals would present their bolsters instead of their volute

s to the spectator. The only way to prevent this was to distort the corner capital into the form shown by Fig. 64; cf. also Figs. 61 and 70.

The Ionic architrave is divided horizontally into three (or sometimes two) bands, each of the upper ones projecting slightly over the one below it. It is crowned by a sort of cornice enriched with moldings. The frieze is not divided like the Doric frieze, but presents an uninterrupted surface. It may be either plain or covered with relief-sculpture. It is finished off with moldings along the upper edge. The cornice (cf. Fig. 65) consists of two principal parts. First comes a projecting block, into whose face rectangular cuttings have been made at short intervals, thus leaving a succession of cogs or DENTELS; above these are moldings. Secondly there is a much more widely projecting block, the CORONA, whose under surface is hollowed to lighten the weight and whose face is capped with moldings. The raking cornice is like the horizontal cornice except that it has no dentels. The sima or gutter-facing, whose profile is here a cyma recta (concave above and convex below), is enriched with sculptured floral ornament.

In the Ionic buildings of Attica the base of the column consists of two tori separated by a trochilus. The proportions of these parts vary considerably. The base in Fig. 66 (from a building finished about 408 B.C.) is worthy of attentive examination by reason of its harmonious proportions. In the Roman form of this base, too often imitated nowadays, the trochilus has too small a diameter. The Attic-Ionic cornice never has dentels, unless the cornice of the Caryatid portico of the Erechtheum ought to be reckoned as an instance (Fig. 67).

The capital shown in Fig. 66 is a special variety of the Ionic capital, of rather rare occurrence. Its distinguishing features are the insertion between ovolo and spiral roll of a torus ornamented with a braided pattern, called a GUILLOCHE; the absence of the palmettes from the corners formed by the spiral roll; and the fact that the channel of the roll is double instead of single, which gives a more elaborate character to that member. Finally, in the Erechtheum the upper part or necking of the shaft is enriched with an exquisitely wrought band of floral ornament, the so-called honeysuckle pattern. This feature is met with in some other examples.

As in the Doric style, so in the Ionic, the anta-capital is quite unlike the column-capital. Fig. 68 shows an anta-capital from the Erechtheum, with an adjacent portion of the wall-band; cf. also Fig. 69. Perhaps it is inaccurate in this case to speak of an anta-capital at all, seeing that the anta simply shares the moldings which crown the wall. The floral frieze under the moldings is, however, somewhat more elaborate on the anta than on the adjacent wall. The Ionic method of ceiling a peristyle or portico may be partly seen in Fig 69. The principal ceiling-beams here rest upon the architrave, instead of upon the frieze, as in a Doric building (cf. Fig. 56). Above were the usual coffered slabs. The same illustration shows a well-preserved and finely proportioned doorway, but unfortunately leaves the details of its ornamentation indistinct.

The Ionic order was much used in the Greek cities of Asia Minor for peripteral temples. The most considerable remains of such buildings, at Ephesus, Priene, etc., belong to the fourth century or later. In Greece proper there is no known instance of a peripteral Ionic temple, but the order was sometimes used for small prostyle and amphiprostyle buildings, such as the Temple of Wingless Victory in Athens (Fig. 70). Furthermore, Ionic columns were sometimes employed in the interior of Doric temples, as at Bassae in Arcadia and (probably) in the temple built by Scopas at Tegea. In the Propylaea or gateway of the Athenian Acropolis we even find the Doric and Ionic orders juxtaposed, the exterior architecture being Doric and the interior Ionic, with no wall to separate them. One more interesting occurrence of the Ionic order in Greece proper may be mentioned, viz., in the Philippeum at Olympia (about 336 B.C.). This is a circular building, surrounded by an Ionic colonnade. Still other types of building afforded opportunity enough for the employment of this style.

After what has been said of the gradual changes in the Doric order, it will be understood that the Ionic order was not the same in the sixth century as in the fifth, nor in the fifth the same as in the third. The most striking change concerns the spiral roll of the capital. In the good period the portion of this member which connects the volutes is bounded below by a depressed curve, graceful and vigorous. With the gradual degradation of taste this curve tended to become a straight line, the result being the unlovely, mechanical form shown in Fig. 71 (from a building of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who reigned from 283 to 246 B.C.). Better formed capitals than this continued for some time to be made in Greek lands; but the type just shown, or rather something resembling it in the disagreeable feature noted, became canonical with Roman architects.

The Corinthian order, as it is commonly called, hardly deserves to be called a distinct order. Its only peculiar feature is the capital; otherwise it agrees with the Ionic order. The Corinthian capital is said to have been invented in the fifth century; and a solitary specimen, of a meager and rudimentary type, found in 1812 in the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, but since lost, was perhaps an original part of that building (about 430 B. C). At present the earliest extant specimens are from the interior of a round building of the fourth century near Epidaurus in Argolis (Fig. 72). [Footnote: For some reason or other the particular capital shown in our illustration was not used in the building, but it is of the same model as those actually used, except that the edge of the abacus is not finished.] It was from such a form as this that the luxuriant type of Corinthian capital so much in favor with Roman architects and their public was derived. On the other hand, the form shown in Fig. 73, from a little building erected in 334 B.C. or soon after, is a variant which seems to have left no lineal successors. In its usual form the Corinthian capital has a cylindrical core, which expands slightly toward the top so as to become bell-shaped; around the lower part of this core are two rows of conventionalized acanthus leaves, eight in each row; from these rise eight principal stalks (each, in fully developed examples, wrapped about its base with an acanthus leaf) which combine, two and two, to form four volutes (HELICES), one under each corner of the abacus, while smaller stalks, branching from the first, cover the rest of the upper part of the core; there is commonly a floral ornament on the middle of each face at the top; finally the abacus has, in plan, the form of a square whose sides have been hollowed out and whose corners have been truncated. In the form shown in Fig. 73 we find, first, a row of sixteen simple leaves, like those of a reed, with the points of a second row showing between them; then a single row of eight acanthus leaves; then the scroll-work, supporting a palmette on each side; and finally an abacus whose profile is made up of a trochilus and an ovolo. This capital, though extremely elegant, is open to the charge of appearing weak at its middle. There is a much less ornate variety, also reckoned as Corinthian, which has no scroll- work, but only a row of acanthus leaves with a row of reed leaves above them around a bell-shaped core, the whole surmounted by a square abacus. In the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates the cornice has dentels, and this was always the case, so far as we know, where the Corinthian capital was used. In Corinthian buildings the anta, where met with, has a capital like that of the column. But there is very little material to generalize from until we descend to Roman times.

Some allusion has been made in the foregoing to other types of columnar buildings besides the temple. The principal ones of which remains exist are PROPYLAEA and STOAS. Propylaea is the Greek name for a form of gateway, consisting essentially of a cross wall between side walls, with a portico on each front. Such gateways occur in many places as entrances to sacred precincts. The finest example, and one of the noblest monuments of Greek architecture, is that at the west end of the Athenian Acropolis. The stoa may be defined as a building having an open range of columns on at least one side. Usually its length was much greater than its depth. Stoas were often built in sacred precincts, as at Olympia, and also for secular purposes along public streets, as in Athens. These and other buildings into which the column entered as an integral feature involved no new architectural elements or principles.

One highly important fact about Greek architecture has thus far been only touched upon; that is, the liberal use it made of color. The ruins of Greek temples are to-day monochromatic, either glittering white, as is the temple at Sunium, or of a golden brown, as are the Parthenon and other buildings of Pentelic marble, or of a still warmer brown, as are the limestone temples of Paestum and Girgenti (Acragas). But this uniformity of tint is due only to time. A "White City," such as made the pride of Chicago in 1893, would have been unimaginable to an ancient Greek. Even to-day the attentive observer may sometimes see upon old Greek buildings, as, for example, upon ceiling-beams of the Parthenon, traces left by patterns from which the color has vanished. In other instances remains of actual color exist. So specks of blue paint may still be seen, or might a few years ago, on blocks belonging to the Athenian Propylaea. But our most abundant evidence for the original use of color comes from architectural fragments recently unearthed. During the excavation of Olympia (1875-81) this matter of the coloring of architecture was constantly in mind and a large body of facts relating to it was accumulated. Every new and important excavation adds to the store. At present our information is much fuller in regard to the polychromy of Doric than of Ionic buildings. It appears that, just as the forms and proportions of a building and of all its details were determined by precedent, yet not so absolutely as to leave no scope for the exercise of individual genius, so there was an established system in the coloring of a building, yet a system which varied somewhat according to time and place and the taste of the architect. The frontispiece attempts to suggest what the coloring of the Parthenon was like, and thus to illustrate the general scheme of Doric polychromy. The colors used were chiefly dark blue, sometimes almost black, and red; green and yellow also occur, and some details were gilded. The coloration of the building was far from total. Plain surfaces, as walls, were unpainted. So too were the columns, including, probably, their capitals, except between the annulets. Thus color was confined to the upper members-the triglyphs, the under surface (soffit) of the cornice, the sima, the anta-capitals (cf. Fig. 54), the ornamental details generally, the coffers of the ceiling, and the backgrounds of sculpture. [Footnote: Our frontispiece gives the backgrounds of the metopes as plain, but this is probably an error] The triglyphs, regulae, and mutules were blue; the taenia of the architrave and the soffit of the cornice between the mutules with the adjacent narrow bands were red; the backgrounds of sculpture, either blue or red; the hawk's-beak molding, alternating blue and red; and so on. The principal uncertainty regards the treatment of the unpainted members. Were these left of a glittering white, or were they toned down, in the case of marble buildings, by some application or other, so as to contrast less glaringly with the painted portions? The latter supposition receives some confirmation from Vitruvius, a Roman writer on architecture of the age of Augustus, and seems to some modern writers to be demanded by aesthetic considerations. On the other hand, the evidence of the Olympia buildings points the other way. Perhaps the actual practice varied. As for the coloring of Ionic architecture, we know that the capital of the column was painted, but otherwise our information is very scanty.

If it be asked what led the Greeks to a use of color so strange to us and, on first acquaintance, so little to our taste, it may be answered that possibly the example of their neighbors had something to do with it. The architecture of Egypt, of Mesopotamia, of Persia, was polychromatic. But probably the practice of the Greeks was in the main an inheritance from the early days of their own civilization. According to a well- supported theory, the Doric temple of the historical period is a translation into stone or marble of a primitive edifice whose walls were of sun-dried bricks and whose columns and entablature were of wood. Now it is natural and appropriate to paint wood; and we may suppose that the taste for a partially colored architecture was thus formed. This theory does not indeed explain everything. It does not, for example, explain why the columns or the architrave should be uncolored. In short, the Greek system of polychromy presents itself to us as a largely arbitrary system.

More interesting than the question of origin is the question of aesthetic effect. Was the Greek use of color in good taste? It is not easy to answer with a simple yes or no. Many of the attempts to represent the facts by restorations on paper have been crude and vulgar enough. On the other hand, some experiments in decorating modern buildings with color, in a fashion, to be sure, much less liberal than that of ancient Greece, have produced pleasing results. At present the question is rather one of faith than of sight; and most students of the subject have faith to believe that the appearance of a Greek temple in all its pomp of color was not only sumptuous, but harmonious and appropriate.

When we compare the architecture of Greece with that of other countries, we must be struck with the remarkable degree in which the former adhered to established usage, both in the general plan of a building and in the forms and proportions of each feature. Some measure of adherence to precedent is indeed implied in the very existence of an architectural style. What is meant is that the Greek measure was unusual, perhaps unparalleled. Yet the following of established canons was not pushed to a slavish extreme. A fine Greek temple could not be built according to a hard and fast rule. While the architect refrained from bold and lawless innovations, he yet had scope to exercise his genius. The differences between the Parthenon and any other contemporary Doric temple would seem slight, when regarded singly; but the preeminent perfection of the Parthenon lay in just those skilfully calculated differences

A Greek columnar building is extremely simple in form.[Footnote: The substance of this paragraph and the following is borrowed from Boutmy, "Philosophie de l'Architecture en Grece" (Paris, 1870)] The outlines of an ordinary temple are those of an oblong rectangular block surmounted by a triangular roof. With a qualification to be explained presently, all the lines of the building, except those of the roof, are either horizontal or perpendicular. The most complicated Greek columnar buildings known, the Erechtheum and the Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis, are simplicity itself when compared to a Gothic cathedral, with its irregular plan, its towers, its wheel windows, its multitudinous diagonal lines.

The extreme simplicity which characterizes the general form of a Greek building extends also to its sculptured and painted ornaments. In the Doric style these are very sparingly used; and even the Ionic style, though more luxuriant, seems reserved in comparison with the wealth of ornamental detail in a Gothic cathedral. Moreover, the Greek ornaments are simple in character. Examine again the hawk's-beak, the egg-and-dart, the leaf-and- dart, the astragal, the guilloche, the honeysuckle, the meander or fret. These are almost the only continuous patterns in use in Greek architecture. Each consists of a small number of elements recurring in unvarying order; a short section is enough to give the entire pattern. Contrast this with the string-course in the nave of the Cathedral of Amiens, where the motive of the design undergoes constant variation, no piece exactly duplicating its neighbor, or with the intricate interlacing patterns of Arabic decoration, and you will have a striking illustration of the Greek love for the finite and comprehensible.

When it was said just now that the main lines of a Greek temple are either horizontal or perpendicular, the statement called for qualification. The elevations of the most perfect of Doric buildings, the Parthenon, could not be drawn with a ruler. Some of the apparently straight lines are really curved. The stylobate is not level, but convex, the rise of the curve amounting to 1/450 of the length of the building; the architrave has also a rising curve, but slighter than that of the stylobate. Then again, many of the lines that would commonly be taken for vertical are in reality slightly inclined. The columns slope inward and so do the principal surfaces of the building, while the anta-capitals slope forward. These refinements, or some of them, have been observed in several other buildings. They are commonly regarded as designed to obviate certain optical illusions supposed to arise in their absence. But perhaps, as one writer has suggested, their principal office was to save the building from an appearance of mathematical rigidity, to give it something of the semblance of a living thing.

Be that as it may, these manifold subtle curves and sloping lines testify to the extraordinary nicety of Greek workmanship. A column of the Parthenon, with its inclination, its tapering, its entasis, and its fluting, could not have been constructed without the most conscientious skill. In fact, the capabilities of the workmen kept pace with the demands of the architects. No matter how delicate the adjustment to be made, the task was perfectly achieved. And when it came to the execution of ornamental details, these were wrought with a free hand and, in the best period, with fine artistic feeling. The wall-band of the Erechtheum is one of the most exquisite things which Greece has left us.

Simplicity in general form, harmony of proportion, refinement of line-these are the great features of Greek columnar architecture.

One other type of Greek building, into which the column does not enter, or enters only in a very subordinate way, remains to be mentioned-the theater. Theaters abounded in Greece. Every considerable city and many a smaller place had at least one, and the ruins of these structures rank with temples and walls of fortification among the commonest classes of ruins in Greek lands. But in a sketch of Greek art they may be rapidly dismissed. That part of the theater which was occupied by spectators-the auditorium, as we may call it-was commonly built into a natural slope, helped out by means of artificial embankments and supporting walls. There was no roof. The building, therefore, had no exterior, or none to speak of. Such beauty as it possessed was due mainly to its proportions. The theater at the sanctuary of Asclepius near Epidaurus, the work of the same architect who built the round building with the Corinthian columns referred to on page 103, was distinguished in ancient times for "harmony and beauty," as the Greek traveler, Pausamas (about 165 A. D.), puts it. It is fortunately one of the best preserved. Fig. 74, a view taken from a considerable distance will give some idea of that quality which Pausanias justly admired. Fronting the auditorium was the stage building, of which little but foundations remains anywhere. So far as can be ascertained, this stage building had but small architectural pretensions until the post classical period (i.e., after Alexander) But there was opportunity for elegance as well as convenience in the form given to the stone or marble seats with which the auditorium was provided.

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