Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Parthenon and Lincoln Memorial Essay

I have chosen the above two architectural marvels for this essay. While Parthenon belongs to the ancient times , around 32 B. B. its architects were Iktinos and Kallikratesand. ( Parthenon). It was a place of worship, for the Athenians, the Lincoln memorial was constructed much later, in the 20th century, and was constructed in the fond memory of the 16th president of the United states of America, Abraham Lincoln. Before analyzing these marvelous works of art, it is necessary that one is thorough in the concept of an organizational system, known as ‘Doric order’, formulated by the ancient Greeks, in their style of architecture. Both these structures are based on this concept. In the Doric order, a style of architecture, first followed by the ancient Greeks, the column does not have a base. The shaft is either based on a square or a circle. The top end of the shaft, known as the ‘capital’, rests under the ‘architrave’. It is important to note that the Greeks had widely used this style, in horizontal alignment, to achieve an impressive visual appeal. ( Mell Devin, Doric style ) Sketch illustrating the Doric column ( Mell Devin ) Originally this building was conceived as a temple of Goddess Athena. The floor plan of the Parthenon adheres to the ratio of 9: 4 and similarly the number of columns also adhere to the same ratio. There are 17 columns along the length and 8 along the width. The floor plan of Parthenon ( The Parthenon, page 1) A horizontal row of 6 Doric columns support the front and the back porch, and the interior space was divided in two unequal rooms. The larger one was devoted to the placement of the statue of Goddess Athena and was surrounded by 23 Doric columns over a two storied structure. The back portion was the treasury of the kingdom. The visual elements of this structure are so designed that the visitor to Parthenon experiences a smooth transition from the visual characteristics of the exteriors to those of the interiors. The visitor also experiences another smooth transition from earthly to divine, when he watches the Panathenaic procession on the Frieze. The statue of Athena, has mesmerizing hues of Gold and ivory, framed shorter Doric columns, in double decked arrangement. This makes the inner space appear larger and taller than the exterior pace. The planning reveals as if it has been designed as a theatrical event, where after experiencing the grandeur of the structural views and the procession on Frieze, the visitor gets to view the statue of Goddess Athena. ( The Parthenon, page 1) This masterpiece one great quality of the Athenian sense of visual elements. It is a proof of the fact that they had mastered the art of the relationship between form and space. The horizontal placement of the Doric columns on the outer edge of the rectangle and the same columns epeated in the inner hall, in a smaller scale, are solid evidences of their understanding of spatial relationships. During so many centuries of its existence, Parthenon has witnessed many attacks and change of functions also. From A Athenian temple, it was turned into a church, and later a mosque also. The structure was partially destroyed as a result of explosion, and today, only the relics of Doric columns can be seen. ( wikipedia) The other marvelous piece taken for analysis in this essay, is the Lincoln Memorial, at Washington D.  C. , USA. This structure is modeled and inspired by the Doric style of columns. The floor of this monument is also a rectangle, and has 36 such columns along its periphery.. This number represents the number states which had acceded to the federal structure of USA, at the time of assassination of Lincoln. Lincoln memorial sketch, clearly revealing the impact of Doric columns on the visual appeal of the monument. (The Lincoln memorial) This monument was built in the fond memory of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of USA. It was opened for public in 1922, and was designed by architect, Henry Bacon. ( Lincoln memorial) The composition of form and space and the visual metaphor in this case resembles to that of the Parthenon. As a matter of fact, the visual splendor is enhanced by the graceful, stunning and visually arresting beauty of the white marble. As a visual form, the flatness of the structure above the Doric columns lend s a very pleasing visual appeal. One important aspect of the Lincoln memorial is that it represents the Parthenon, thematically also. The statue of Lincoln represents that of goddess Athena and the procession is represented by historical speeches of Lincoln, namely his second inaugural speech and the Gettysburg address. ( Lincoln memorial). Talking of the elements of design, the striking contrast between the Parthenon and the Lincoln memorial is that the later, perhaps under the effect of modernism and the after effects of renaissance era, has very flat horizontal and vertical lines domination the canvas of vision. This lends a far more pleasing perspective view from a distance, than he Parthenon, which has inclined lines intercepting the vertical composition formed by the Doric columns. Moreover, the decorative elements, like motifs and patterns which are so evident in the Parthenon, are not seen in the Lincoln memorial This is suggestive of the impact minimal movement has had on the designers. Conclusively, it can be said that, despite having a time gap of thousands of years between their evolution, the Parthenon and the Lincoln memorial are adhering to similar design principles, the same style of visual expression, and similar perceptions of visual composition.

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