Ionic Order Definition

An Example of the Ionic Order
The ionic order forms one of the three orders, also referred to as organisational systems of classical architecture. Namely Greek and Roman architecture. The order was developed by the Greeks for their temple architecture. The name ionic is derived from the Ionian Islands where the style of architecture was first employed. (Read more after Break)

The Ionic order was predominately used to articulate smaller on average buildings and interiors. It was consider to be both delicate and female in form, especially when compared with its more robust and solid counterpart the Doric Order.

The order is easily recognisable from the two scrolls situated on the top, on wither side of the capital. The scrolls are known as volutes. The volutes are thought to be derived from original sea shells which were used to decorate temple architecture, previously, or based on a scroll of parchment. The shells are similar to nautilus shells. The curved area between the volutes, known as the echinus, which is composed of oval decorations known as egg and dart, decorative style.
  • The area above the capital, known as the entablature is much narrower by design than the Doric Order. This is because the frieze comes without triglyphs or metopes.
  • Frieze contains a continuos band of sculpture.
  • The architrave of the entablature consists of three stepped bands, called fasciae.
  • The columns in the order demonstrate a subtle use of entasis, that is they curve slightly as the diameter of the column is decreased from the bottom to the top. Therefore they get narrower the further you go up the column, this is to counter optical issues.
  • Ionic shaft has 24 flutes.
An example of the Doric order can be seen at the Temple to Athena at Nike designed by Callicrates (450 B.C.), near the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens.

Temple of Athena, Athens
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