Classical order

Illustrations of the Classical orders (from left to right): Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite, made in 1728, from Cyclopædia
An illustration of the Five Architectural Orders engraved for the Encyclopédie, vol. 18, showing the Tuscan and Doric orders (top row); two versions of the Ionic order (center row); Corinthian and Composite orders (bottom row)
Greek orders with full height
Doric capital of the Parthenon from Athens
Ionic capital from the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court of the British Museum (London)
Corinthian capital of a column from the portico of the Pantheon from Rome
Tuscan capital and entablature, illustration from the 18th century
Composite capital in the former Palace of Justice (Budapest, Hungary)
The Tower of The Five Orders at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, completed in 1619, includes Tuscan through Composite orders.
The St-Gervais-et-St-Protais Church in Paris presents columns of the three orders : Doric at the ground floor, Ionic at the second floor, Corinthian at the third floor
Corn capital at the Litchfield Villa Prospect Park (Brooklyn) (A.J. Davis, architect)
An illustration of the Five Architectural Orders engraved for the Encyclopédie, vol. 18, showing the Tuscan and Doric orders (top row); two versions of the Ionic order (center row); Corinthian and Composite orders (bottom row)

Certain assemblage of parts subject to uniform established proportions, regulated by the office that each part has to perform.

- Classical order

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Classical architecture

More or less consciously derived from the principles of Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, or sometimes even more specifically, from the works of the Roman architect Vitruvius.

Sebastiano Serlio was the first to canonize the five Classical orders (Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite), in a prime example of classical architectural theory.
The emphatically classical church façade of Santa Maria Nova, Vicenza (1578–90) was designed by the influential Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.
The Glyptothek in Munich, designed by Leo von Klenze and built 1816–30, an example of Neoclassical architecture.
Croydon Airport in England, opened in 1920 and built in a Neoclassical style.

Byzantine architecture, just as Romanesque and even to some extent Gothic architecture (with which classical architecture is often posed), can also incorporate classical elements and details but do not to the same degree reflect a conscious effort to draw upon the architectural traditions of antiquity; for example, they do not observe the idea of a systematic order of proportions for columns.

Capital (architecture)

In architecture the capital (from the Latin caput, or "head") or chapiter forms the topmost member of a column (or a pilaster).

Top of an Achaemenid Persian column from Persepolis
Illustration of a Doric capital of the Parthenon, in a book named A Handbook of Architectural Styles, written in 1898
Ionic capital of the Erechtheion, with rotated volute at the corner
Plate of the Ionic order, from Les Ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grèce, made in 1770 by Julien-David Le Roy
Corinthian pilaster capital supported by protomes of pegasi, from the interior of the cella of the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus, now in the Museo dei Fori Imperiali, Rome
The Lion Capital of Ashoka; circa 3rd century BC; polished sandstone; height: 2.2 m; Sarnath Museum (Saranath, near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Figure of Buddha, in the centre of a Corinthian capital, made during the ancient Gandhara state, between the 1st to the 3rd century AD, found at Jamal Garhi
Corinthian capital of "Pompey's Pillar", the tallest monolithic column of the Roman world, erected in honour of the augustus Diocletian ((r. 284 – 305))
Illustrations of Baroque capitals from France, in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York City)
Column capital. Yarkand mosque
Richly decorated pillar capital at Urgyen Sanag Choling Monastery. Pin Valley, Spiti
Illustration of papyriform capitals, in The Grammar of Ornament, 1856
Nine types of capitals, from The Grammar of Ornament
Columns with Hathoric capitals, at the Temple of Isis from island Philae
Egyptian composite columns from Philae
Papyriform columns in the Luxor Temple
Composite papyrus capital; 380-343 BC; painted sandstone; height: 126 cm (49{{fraction|5|8}} in.); Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Fragments of a palm column; 2353-2323 BC; granite; diameter beneath the ropes of the neck 80.85 cm (31{{fraction|13|16}} in.); Metropolitan Museum of Art
Model of a quatrefoil palmette capital; 400-30 BC; limestone; height: 23.9 cm (9{{fraction|7|16}} in.); Metropolitan Museum of Art
Illustration of the Corinthian capital of the mid-5th-century Column of Marcian, with a pulvino above it.
Corinthian capital from the late 5th-century "Basilica A" at Philippi
Capital from the late 5th-century "Basilica A" at Philippi
Corinthian capital from the early 6th-century Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (Ravenna, Italy)
Capital in the mid-6th century Basilica of San Vitale (Ravenna, Italy)
Basket capital from the mid-6th-century Hagia Sophia at Constantinople
Basket capital in the atrium of the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica, Poreč
Capital with protomes of pegasi, probably 6th-century, possibly from the Hippodrome of Constantinople
One of the "Pilastri Acritani", Venice, from the 6th-century Church of St Polyeuctus in Constantinople
Byzantine Ionic capital from Dyrrachium (Durrës) in the National Museum of Medieval Art (Korçë, Albania)
10th-century Islamic Composite capital with Arabic-inscribed abacus, probably from Medina Azahara, in the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
10th-century capitals from the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (Louvre)
Simple, Romanesque cushion capital in the crypt of Lund Cathedral (Sweden)
Romanesque capital at the abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa (France)
Foliage on Gothic capitals at the Southwell Minster (Southwell, England)
Gothic capitals at a portal of Marienkirche Gelnhausen (Gelnhausen, Germany)
Gothic capital in the Christ Church Cathedral from Dublin (Ireland)
Russian capital of the Dormition Cathedral from Vladimir (Russia)
Brâncovenesc capital of from Mavrogheni Church (Bucharest, Romania)
Illustrations of Baroque capitals from France, in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York City)
Illustrations of Baroque pilaster capitals from France, in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Print of a Louis XIV style Ionic capital, with a pair of festoon-inspired ornaments on its volutes
Rococo or Rocaille capital in the Engelszell Abbey from Austria
The capitals of a Rococo pilaster, on the Mausoleum Althan (Austria)
Composite capital of Réverbère de la place de la Concorde, in Paris
Romanesque Revival capital of the Cantacuzino-Pașcanu-Waldenburg Castle from Lilieci (Romania)
Ionic capital from Lviv (Ukraine)
Composite capital from Cărturești Carusel (Bucharest, Romania)
Art Nouveau capital of a column from the gate of Castel Béranger from Paris

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.


Superstructure of moldings and bands which lies horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals.

Entablatures at Caesarea Maritima
Entablature at the Temple of Venus Genetrix, Rome
Entablature of the Doric order
Entablature of the Ionic order
Entablature of the Corinthian order

The structure of an entablature varies with the orders of architecture.

Ancient Roman architecture

Different from Greek buildings, becoming a new architectural style.

The Roman Pantheon
Dome of the Pantheon, inner view
Palladian Stowe House, by William Kent
Frigidarium of Baths of Diocletian, today Santa Maria degli Angeli
Close-up view of the wall of the Roman shore fort at Burgh Castle, Norfolk, showing alternating courses of flint and brickwork.
The St. George Rotunda (4th century) and remains of Serdica, Sofia, Bulgaria
Example of opus caementicium on a tomb on the ancient Appian Way in Rome. The original covering has been removed.
The Temple of Claudius to the south (left) of the Colosseum (model of Imperial Rome at the Museo della civiltà romana in Rome)
Model of the 1st century Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) in the Roman period created by arch. Matey Mateev
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii, built around 70 BC and buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius 79 AD, once hosted spectacles with gladiators
Northern aisle of the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome
The Aula Palatina of Trier, Germany (then part of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica), built during the reign of Constantine I (r. 306–337 AD)
The Roman Forum
The Horrea Epagathiana et Epaphroditiana, a horreum in Ostia (Rome), Italy, built c. 145–150 AD
Insula in Ostia Antica
The Tower of Hercules, a Roman lighthouse in Spain
"Roman Baroque" Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, Lebanon
The Temple of Hercules Victor, Rome, built in the mid-2nd century BC, most likely by Lucius Mummius Achaicus, who won the Achaean War.
The Temple of Portunus, god of grain storage, keys, livestock and ports. Rome, built between 120 and 80 BC
Roman Theatre (Mérida), Spain
Villa of the Mysteries just outside Pompeii, seen from above
The capital of Trajan's Column, Rome
Gardens in Conimbriga, Portugal
The Arch of Titus in Rome, an early Roman imperial triumphal arch with a single archway
The Arch of Augustus in Rimini (Ariminum), dedicated to Augustus by the Roman Senate in 27 BC, the oldest surviving Roman triumphal arch
The Appian way
The Pont du Gard, near Vers-Pont-du-Gard, France
Puente Romano over the Guadiana River at Mérida, Spain
The Basilica Cistern in Constantinople provided water for the Imperial Palace.
Roman walls of Lugo, Spain
The Centaur mosaic (2nd-century), found at Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy. Altes Museum, Berlin
Hypocaust in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
Inside the "Temple of Mercury" at Baiae, a swimming pool for a Roman bath, dating to the late Roman Republic, and containing one of the largest domes in the world before the building of the Pantheon
The Baths of Caracalla
Canopo at Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, Italy
Verona Arena at dawn
Hadrian's Wall, built in 122 AD in Roman Britain, in what is now Northern England

Stylistic developments included the Tuscan and Composite orders; the first being a shortened, simplified variant on the Doric order and the Composite being a tall order with the floral decoration of the Corinthian and the scrolls of the Ionic.

Fluting (architecture)

Fluting in architecture consists of shallow grooves running along a surface.

Spiral fluted columns in the Great Colonnade at Apamea in Syria
Vertical fluting on Doric order columns
Parthenon, Acropolis at Athens, Greece
Fluted columns and pilasters inside The Panthéon, Paris, France.
The Maison Carrée (Roman), Nîmes, France
Persian columns at Persepolis, Iran
Spiral fluting on columns in the Nasir-ol-molk Mosque in Iran
Fluted engaged columns at Djoser's funerary complex in Saqqara, Egypt
Altarpiece of the Raimondi Chapel at San Pietro, Montorio, Rome
Fluted pilasters inside the Sagrestia Veccia, Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., USA
Supreme Court building, Washington, D.C., USA
War Memorial, Washington D.C., USA

Renaissance architecture, built between the 14th and 17th centuries in Europe, centered on a revival of classical architectural elements, including Classical order columns.

Doric order

The Doric order of the Parthenon. Triglyphs marked "a", metopes "b", guttae "c" and mutules under the soffit "d".
Two early Archaic Doric order Greek temples at Paestum (Italy) with much wider capitals than later
Entry to the Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris), with four Doric columns in this photo.
Temple of the Delians, Delos; 19th-century pen-and-wash drawing
The Doric corner conflict
The Roman Doric order from the Theater of Marcellus: triglyphs centered over the end column
The Grange (nearby Northington, England), 1804, Europe's first house designed with all external detail of a Greek temple
Original Doric polychromy
Upper parts, labelled
Three Greek Doric columns
The Five Orders, originally illustrated by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, 1640
thumb|The ruins of the Temple of Poseidon from Sounion (Greece), 444–440 BC
Exterior of the Great Tomb of Lefkadia, circa 300 BC <ref>{{cite book |last1=Fullerton|first1=Mark D.|title=Art & Archaeology of The Roman World|date=2020|publisher=Thames & Hudson|isbn=978-0-500-051931|page=87|language=en}}</ref>
Capital on the Parthenon from Athens
Venus Temple at Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli (Italy), detail from the roof
Fragment of an Ancient Roman Doric frieze in Palestrina (Italy)
Temple of Athena, Assos in Turkey
Renaissance marble altar enframement, circa 1530–1550, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Engraving of a Doric entablature from Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, 1536, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Engraving of a Doric capital from Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, circa 1537, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The monumental fireplace in the ballroom of the Palace of Fontainebleau (France), with a Doric frieze on it
Door between a pair of Doric pilasters, in Montpellier (France)
Door between a pair of Doric pilasters, in Enkhuizen (the Netherlands)
Capital of a Doric pilaster from Lviv (Ukraine)
Die Sünde, by Franz Stuck, from 1893, in a frame with a pair of engaged Doric columns
Interior of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Doric columns
The entrance of La Sorbonne from Paris, with a pair of Doric columns and an entablature with triglyphs and empty metopes

The Doric order was one of the three orders of ancient Greek and later Roman architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.

Ionic order

Architects' first real look at the Greek Ionic order: Julien David LeRoy, Les ruines plus beaux des monuments de la Grèce Paris, 1758 (Plate XX)
Ionic order: 1 – entablature, 2 – column, 3 – pediment, 4 – frieze, 5 – architrave or epistyle, 6 – capital (composed of abacus and volutes), 7 – shaft, 8 – base, 9 – stylobate, 10 – krepis
Ionic capital at the Erechtheum (Athens), 5th century BC
Original polychromy in Ionic temples
An archaic Greek Ionic capital, in Nordisk familjebok, 1910
The Sphinx of Naxos on its Ionic column, 560 BC
Temple of Zeus in Aizanoi
The North Porch of the Erechtheum, an ancient Greek temple from the Acropolis of Athens
Base of an Ionic column of the North Porch of the Erechtheum
Ancient Ionic column among the ruins of Histria (present-day Romania), a Greek colony on the western coast of the Black Sea
Byzantine Ionic capital from National Museum of Medieval Art (Korçë, Albania)
Scamozzian Ionic capitals on Castle Coole portico
Illustration of the Ionic frieze and capital from three angles, from Regola delli cinqve ordini d'architettvra (1563), by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola
Allegory of Music, by Jean-Francois de Troy, from 1733. In the background, two Baroque columns appear
Etching by Piranesi of the Temple of Portunus; the volute at a corner (bottom left) projects at 45°
Ionic capital partially colored, inside the Propylaea (Munich, Germany)
Metal and glass door between a pair of Ionic columns, in Paris
Ionic pilasters on the façade of the Gare du Nord from Paris
Neo-Renaissance pilaster capital in Pörtschach am Wörthersee (Austria), decorated with a festoon and a lion head above
The Temple of Diana in Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini (Genoa, Italy)
The entrance of the Grand Palais (Paris), 1900, by Charles Girault

The Ionic order is one of the three canonic orders of classical architecture, the other two being the Doric and the Corinthian.

Corinthian order

A Corinthian capital from the Pantheon, Rome, which provided a prominent model for Renaissance and later architects
Corinthinan peripteros of the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, Lebanon
Two Corinthian pilasters in Saint-Sulpice, Paris
Bucrania with festoons decorating the Temple of Vesta from Hadrian's Villa (Tivoli)
Corinthian columns of the Arch of Septimius Severus, in the Forum Romanum
Corinthian columns of the Arch of Septimius Severus in Leptis Magna
Figure of the Buddha, within a Corinthian capital, Gandhara, 3–4th century, Musee Guimet.
Capital of the Column of Phocas
Vincenzo Scamozzi offers his version of the Corinthian capital, in a portrait by Veronese (Denver Art Museum)
Ancient Greek capital from Tarentum with addorsed sphinxes, 4th–3rd centuries BC, made of limestone, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Detailed illustration of a Corinthian capital, circa 1540–1560, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The origin of the Corinthian order, illustrated in Claude Perrault's translation of the ten books of Vitruvius, 1684
The Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France, built in circa 14 BC
The Corinthian order as used in extending the United States Capitol in 1854: the column's shaft has been omitted
Corinthian columns in Jerash, Jordan
Corinthian capital from the Colosseum with gorgoneia
Corinthian capitals in the Temple of Hercules Victor, Rome
The Constantinian basilica of Santa Sabina interior, with spolia Corinthian columns from the Temple of Juno Regina.
Hadrian's Library on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens, created by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD
Reconstructed Corinthian capital, with original colors Xanten
Byzantine Corinthian capital in Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (Ravenna, Italy)
Feast in the House of Levi, by Paolo Veronese, from 1573. In the background appear many Corinthian columns
Illustrations of Corinthian pilasters, from Germany, in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum from New York City
The Temple of Love in the gardens of the Petit Trianon at the Gardens of Versailles in Versailles (France)
Corinthian pilaster capital in the Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides (Paris)
Pair of Corinthian capitals in the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, at the Greenwich Hospital (London)
The fake Roman ruins from the gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace (Austria), built in 1778 and based on Giovanni Battista Piranesi's depictions of the Roman Temple of Vespasian and Titus
The Hôtel Baudard de Saint-James from Paris, with Corinthian columns and pilasters
Romanian Revival balustrade made of small Corinthian columns, in Bucharest (Romania)
City-house in Bucharest, with Corinthian pilasters at its windows

The Corinthian order (Greek: Κορινθιακός ρυθμός, Latin: Ordo Corinthius) is the last developed of the three principal classical orders of Ancient Greek architecture and Roman architecture.

Sebastiano Serlio

Italian Mannerist architect, who was part of the Italian team building the Palace of Fontainebleau.

Fanciful Portrait of Sebastiano Serlio (Print by Vincenzo Raggio)
Serlio's canon of the 5 orders of architecture.
Serlio's model of a church façade of 1537 crystallized a format that lasted into the 18th century.
A page from the seventh book
Two pages from the eighth book
Extraordinario libro di architettura, 1567
Influence on hôtel d'Assézat's facades.
Influence on hôtel d'Assézat's portal.
Influence on hôtel Molinier's portal.
Influence on a former gate of Toulouse Capitole.
Influence on Maison du Crible's gate.

Serlio helped canonize the classical orders of architecture in his influential treatise variously known as I sette libri dell'architettura ("Seven Books of Architecture") or Tutte l'opere d'architettura et prospetiva ("All the works on architecture and perspective").

Composite order

Illustration of the Composite order, made in 1695 and kept in Deutsche Fotothek
The Five Orders illustrated by Vignola, 1641
Unlike the Composite capital, this Ionic capital has a different appearance from the front and sides
Roman capital in Ostia Antica (a large archaeological site, close to the modern town of Ostia, in Italy)
Remains of the capital of a Roman Composite column in Ephesus (in present-day coastal Turkey)
Late Roman/Byzantine capital, at the Euphrasian Basilica
10th-century Islamic Composite capital with Arabic-inscribed abacus, probably from Medina Azahara, in the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Palazzo Capitaniato from Vicenza (Italy), by Andrea Palladio
Rococo capital in the Engelszell Abbey from Austria (1754-1764)
Illustration of the Composite order, that shows the column and the proportion of the column in relation to the diameter of the base of the shaft
Composite pilasters on a façade of the Galerie de Valois from Paris
Composite columns of a bookshelf from Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris)
Composite capital in the former Palace of Justice (Budapest, Hungary)
Capital of a column from Cărturești Carusel (Bucharest, Romania)

The Composite order is a mixed order, combining the volutes of the Ionic order capital with the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order.