Ionic order

Ionic order

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The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems
Classical order
A classical order is one of the ancient styles of classical architecture, each distinguished by its proportions and characteristic profiles and details, and most readily recognizable by the type of column employed. Three ancient orders of architecture—the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—originated in...

 of classical architecture
Classical architecture
Classical architecture is a mode of architecture employing vocabulary derived in part from the Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, enriched by classicizing architectural practice in Europe since the Renaissance...

, the other two canonic orders being the Doric
Doric order
The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.-History:...

 and the Corinthian
Corinthian order
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...

. (There are two lesser orders, the stocky Tuscan order
Tuscan order
Among canon of classical orders of classical architecture, the Tuscan order's place is due to the influence of the Italian Sebastiano Serlio, who meticulously described the five orders including a "Tuscan order", "the solidest and least ornate", in his fourth book of Regole generalii di...

 and the rich variant of Corinthian, the Composite order
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. The composite order volutes are larger, however, and the composite order also has echinus molding with egg-and-dart ornamentation between the volutes...

, added by 16th century Italian architectural theory and practice.)

The Ionic order originated in the mid-6th century BC in Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

, the southwestern coastland and islands of Asia Minor
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 settled by Ionian Greeks, where an Ionian dialect was spoken. The Ionic order column was being practiced in mainland Greece in the 5th century BC. The first of the great Ionic temples was the Temple of Hera on Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

, built about 570 BC–560 BC by the architect Rhoikos. It stood for only a decade before it was leveled by an earthquake. It was in the great sanctuary of the goddess: it could scarcely have been in a more prominent location for its brief lifetime. A longer-lasting 6th century Ionic temple was the Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis , also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to a goddess Greeks identified as Artemis and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was situated at Ephesus , and was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction...

 at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Seven Wonders of the World refers to remarkable constructions of classical antiquity listed by various authors in guidebooks popular among the ancient Hellenic tourists, particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC...

.

The Ionic column
Column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

s normally stand on a base which separates the shaft of the column from the stylobate
Stylobate
In classical Greek architecture, a stylobate is the top step of the crepidoma, the stepped platform on which colonnades of temple columns are placed...

 or platform;
The cap is usually enriched with egg-and-dart
Egg-and-dart
Egg-and-dart or Egg-and-tongue is an ornamental device often carved in wood, stone, or plaster quarter-round ovolo mouldings, consisting of an egg-shaped object alternating with an element shaped like an arrow, anchor or dart. Egg-and-dart enrichment of the ovolo molding of the Ionic capital is...

. Originally the volutes lay in a single plane (illustration at right); then it was seen that they could be angled out on the corners. This feature of the Ionic order made it more pliant and satisfactory than the Doric to critical eyes in the 4th century BC: angling the volutes on the corner columns, ensured that they "read" equally when seen from either front or side facade. The 16th-century Renaissance architect and theorist Vincenzo Scamozzi
Vincenzo Scamozzi
thumb|250px|Portrait of Vincenzo Scamozzi by [[Paolo Veronese]]Vincenzo Scamozzi was a Venetian architect and a writer on architecture, active mainly in Vicenza and Republic of Venice area in the second half of the 16th century...

 designed a version of such a perfectly four-sided Ionic capital; Scamozzi's version became so much the standard, that when a Greek Ionic order was eventually reintroduced, in the later 18th century Greek Revival, it conveyed an air of archaic freshness and primitive, perhaps even republican, vitality.



Below the volutes, the Ionic column may have a wide collar or banding separating the capital from the fluted shaft, as at Castle Coole (below, left). Or a swag of fruit and flowers may swing from the clefts formed by the volutes, or from their "eyes." After a little early experimentation, the number of hollow flutes in the shaft settled at 24. This standardization kept the fluting in a familiar proportion to the diameter of the column at any scale, even when the height of the column was exaggerated. Roman fluting leaves a little of the column surface between each hollow; Greek fluting runs out to a knife edge that was easily scarred.

The Ionic column is always more slender than the Doric: Ionic columns are eight and nine column-diameters tall, and even more in the Antebellum colonnades of late American Greek revival plantation houses. Ionic columns are most often fluted: Inigo Jones
Inigo Jones
Inigo Jones is the first significant British architect of the modern period, and the first to bring Italianate Renaissance architecture to England...

 introduced a note of sobriety with plain Ionic columns on his Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace, London, and when Beaux-Arts architect John Russell Pope
John Russell Pope
John Russell Pope was an architect most known for his designs of the National Archives and Records Administration building , the Jefferson Memorial and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.-Biography:Pope was born in New York in 1874, the son of a successful...

 wanted to convey the manly stamina combined with intellect of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, he left colossal Ionic columns unfluted on the Roosevelt memorial at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

, New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, for an unusual impression of strength and stature.

The major features of the Ionic order are the volutes of its capital, which have been the subject of much theoretical and practical discourse, based on a brief and obscure passage in Vitruvius
Vitruvius
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC. He is best known as the author of the multi-volume work De Architectura ....

. The only tools required were a straight-edge, a right angle, string (to establish half-lengths) and a compass.

The entablature resting on the columns has three parts: a plain architrave
Architrave
An architrave is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. It is an architectural element in Classical architecture.-Classical architecture:...

 divided into two, or more generally three, bands, with a frieze
Frieze
thumb|267px|Frieze of the [[Tower of the Winds]], AthensIn architecture the frieze is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilasters are expressed, on an astylar wall it lies upon...

 resting on it that may be richly sculptural, and a cornice
Cornice
Cornice molding is generally any horizontal decorative molding that crowns any building or furniture element: the cornice over a door or window, for instance, or the cornice around the edge of a pedestal. A simple cornice may be formed just with a crown molding.The function of the projecting...

 built up with dentils (like the closely spaced ends of joists), with a corona ("crown") and cyma ("ogee") molding to support the projecting roof. Pictorial often narrative bas-relief frieze carving provides a characteristic feature of the Ionic order, in the area where the Doric order is articulated with triglyphs. Roman and Renaissance practice condensed the height of the entablature by reducing the proportions of the architrave, which made the frieze more prominent.

Vitruvius
Vitruvius
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC. He is best known as the author of the multi-volume work De Architectura ....

, a practicing architect who worked in the time of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, reports (De Architectura, iv) that the Doric has a basis of sturdy male body proportions while Ionic depends on "more graceful" female body proportions. Though he does not name his source for such a self-conscious and "literary" approach, it must be in traditions passed on from Hellenistic architects, such as Hermogenes of Priene
Hermogenes of Priene
Interest in Hermogenes of Priene , the Hellenistic architect of a temple of Artemis Leukophryene at Magnesia in Lydia, an Ionian colony on the banks of the Maeander river in Anatolia, has been sparked by references to his esthetic made by the 1st century Roman architect Vitruvius .Hermogenes'...

, the architect of a famed temple of Artemis at Magnesia on the Meander in Lydia (now Turkey). Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 architectural theorists took his hints, to interpret the Ionic Order as matronly in comparison to the Doric Order, though not as wholly feminine as the Corinthian order. The Ionic is a natural order for post-Renaissance libraries and courts of justice, learned and civilized. Because no treatises on classical architecture survive earlier than that of Vitruvius, identification of such "meaning" in architectural elements as it was understood in the 5th and 4th centuries BC remains tenuous, though during the Renaissance it became part of the conventional "speech" of classicism.

The Parthenon
Parthenon
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although...

, although it conforms mainly to the Doric order, also has some Ionic elements. A more purely Ionic mode to be seen on the Athenian Acropolis is exemplified in the Erechtheum
Erechtheum
The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece.-Architecture:The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius...

. From the 17th century onwards, a much admired and copied version of Ionic was that which could be seen in the temple called that of "Fortuna Virilis
Temple of Portunus
The Temple of Portunus is an ancient building in Rome, Italy, the main temple dedicated to the god Portunus in the city. It is in the Ionic order and is still more familiar by its erroneous designation, the Temple of Fortuna Virilis given it by antiquaries...

" in Rome, first clearly presented in a detailed engraving in Antoine Desgodetz
Antoine Desgodetz
Antoine Babuty Desgodetzs publication Les edifices antiques de Rome dessinés et mesurés très exactement provided detailed engravings of the monuments and antiquities of Rome to serve French artists and architects...

, Les edifices antiques de Rome (Paris 1682).

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