Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Athens, Parthenon, Greece, Architecture, Greek, Perspective, Principles, England

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Published: 2020/12/12

Tentative title: Curvature and perspective in the Parthenon

Description: This paper will discuss the use of curves in the Parthenon, the careful combination of which has led many scholars (both in antiquity and in the modern era) to consider the Parthnon as one of the finest examples of Greek architecture. Built in the Doric order (although including interior columns around the cella in the Ionic order), the Parthenon is a peripteral temple with 46 outer columns and 23 inner columns and a stylobate measuring 228 by 101 feet. The overall proportions of the temple were carefully calculated to achieve a visual harmony. This paper will examine how this was achieved through the architects’ use of subtle curvature in the seemingly straight lines of the Doric temple, which took perspective into account and created a harmonious whole.
This paper will start by examining the principles of Greek architecture relevant to the curvature found in the Parthnenon—namely the importance of proportion and the specific proportions that defined the Doric order, including entasis (the gradual and irregular narrowing of a column’s diameter that results in a slight swelling in the lower half of the column). It will also briefly link the construction of the Parthenon to the larger context of Athens in the 5th century B.C., as at the time the city was experiencing a cultural boom that was in part responsible for the refinement of the architectural principles seen in the Parthenon.
The paper will go on to discuss the specific dimensions and proportions of the Parthenon, focusing on how the curves employed in the stylobate, columns, and walls of the cella contribute to the optical refinements of the building. For the columns, it is not only the entasis that contributes to these optical refinements but also the way that the columns lean slightly inwards, have varying diameters, and are spaced at slightly different intervals. I will then cover the issue of how these optical refinements worked by looking at the way that adding in these curves negated the perspectival illusions that straight lines would have created. Ultimately, it was this careful attention to curvature and the refined proportions of the Parthenon that has led to it being considered the height of achievement of the Doric style, and Greek temple architecture in general.


Lawrence, Arnold Walter. Greek Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.
Rodgers, Nigel. The Art and Architecture of Ancient Greece. London: Southwater, 2011.
Spawforth, Tony. The Complete Greek Temples. London: Thames and Hudson, 2006.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 12) Paper Proposal Essay Example. Retrieved April 24, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/paper-proposal-essay-example/
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"Paper Proposal Essay Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 12-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/paper-proposal-essay-example/. [Accessed: 24-Apr-2024].
Paper Proposal Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/paper-proposal-essay-example/. Published Dec 12, 2020. Accessed April 24, 2024.

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