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The Roman Orders

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Introduction. This section on the Roman Orders is largely an adaptation and simplification of a work published in 1870, entitled "An Analysis of the Five Orders" by F. Laureys, architect. and professor at the Royal Academy and Industrial School of Brussels. Professor Laureys has taken the standard orders as shown in the plates from the better known work by Vignola, and has further elaborated their system of construction. He has explained in detail many parts of the plates and orders of Vignola, which that authority has left vague or indeterminate, and has generally succeeded in attaining a more distinctive type-form in the instances where he has chosen to deviate from the original. The three order plates from .Vignola may be considered as "key-plates" showing the proper relation of the more detailed drawings adapted from the elaborate ,system of Professor Laureys, and the proper assemblage of the different parts of the order in such a manner as to give a comprehensive idea of the whole.

The included plates from Palladio furnish alternative versions of each of the three orders and are valuable as showing in many instances the authority for the changes which Professor Laveys has chosen to make from Vignola. Vignola and Palladio were practically contemporaneous Italian architects living in the six teenth century, the first—possibly better described as a thinker and analytic theorist—residing in Rome; while Palladio worked in the north of Italy and, either through better opportunity or a differing temperament, has amply proved by his practices the value of his works.

It must be understood that these so-called Roman orders are not the orders used by the Classic Roman builders in any instance, but are versions made in this sixteenth century from the then existing buildings and remains of Roman work, and each of these orders was intended to become a "type-form," or composite of the best features of the varying ancient examples. They are, therefore. more distinctively products of the Renaissance and might more appropriately be termed the Renaissance Classic orders, 'but in contradistinction to the still earlier and radically different creations of artistic Greek workmen, these examples are known as the Roman orders. Indeed, however much they may differ in

detail from the Roman originals, they are carried out in as close an approximation to the spirit of Roman work as would be possible at any later lint differ radically froin the spirit and intent of the preceding Greek work, upon which the Romans had in turn founded and developed their application and use of the orders.

Some buildings are the logical outcome of the needs they are designed to serve, or of the nature of the materials used in them; others have been evolved by the artistic genius of different peoples, and have gradually been perfected in the advance and progress of civilization and art. Such buildings possess an aesthetic or artistic character, and are the natural expression of particular peoples at a given stage of their civilization.

The Greeks and the Romans, the most cultivated nations of ancient times, brought their architectural forms to a very high degree of perfection. The destruction of ancient civilization by the Fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century A. D. and the spread of Christianity, caused the complete disappearance of Greek and Roman architecture during several centuries. This period is called the Middle Ages and lasted until the 15th century, but dur ing this time a new civilization was developing and producing an architecture, which in certain countries (notably in • France) attained a very high degree of perfection.

In the 15th century, however, the study of ancient literature brought about an intellectual reaction which led both science and art into sympathy with Greco-Roman antiquity. Architecture then discarded the artistic forms of the Middle Ages and adopted new forms derived from the remains of ancient Rome. This period was called the Renaissance, and from it we may date the academic study of architecture, based on the architecture of Greece and of Rome To the architectural style at this time adopted as a standard for study in the classroom, has been given the designation "Class ical," and as the principles of classical architecture are the easiest to formulate and retain, it is most helpful to begin with the study of these. An accurate knowledge of classical architecture is essential to the study of all other styles.

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