Ionic Order absorbs and resumes the oriental motifs, while enriching decorations adorning the architectural structures.
The Origin of the Ionic Order
The Ionic Order was born in Ionia, a coastal region of central Anatolia, in the early 6th century B.C. Many Greek settlements began at that location. It is primarily identified by its capital, with its rolled-up cushion-like form on either side creating the distinctive volutes. Vitruvius describes it as the “combination of the severity,” of the Doric Order and “the delicacy,”of the Corinthian Order. It is possible to identify this style by the elements that derive from these two Greek, classical styles.
How to Distinguish a Ionic Building
Depending on the location and the time in which the single edifice was built, we can find different features withing the Ionic order. The so-called “attic base,” which it is the best known, is most common. The Romans used to shape columns, at the top and at the bottom with two torus, divided by a scotia (hollow conclave molding). These are the main features of the Ionic style:
- The shaft of the column is put on the base and has grooves in a rounded edge;
- The capital is composed of two volutes in a spiral shape, in which ovules and arrows alternate;
- The abacus above the capital is flattened, and the echinus is small;
Above the capital, it is possible to find an entablature. It is composed by a tripartite architrave, with three overlapping plates. Each one is higher and more prominent than the one that lays below.
The frieze lies on it, and often has painted representations, developed along the entire perimeter of the temple.
Renaissance architectural theorists were inspired by Vitruvius, and looked toward the Ionic order, comparing it to the Doric and Corinthian orders. The Ionic is a natural order for post-Renaissance libraries and courts of justice.
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_order
Iconic Ionic Temples
- The Temple of Hera, on Samos, was the first of the greatest Ionic temples. It was built by the architect Rhoikos between 570 and 560 BC, but stood only for a decade due to an earthquake.
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a 6th-century Ionic temple, and it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Parthenon, although it conforms mainly to the Doric order, also has some Ionic elements.
- The Erechtheum and the Temple of Athena are also examples of the pure Ionic mode. They are both located on the Athens Acropolis.
Modern Examples of Ionic Style
There are many buildings embodying Ionic style’s features: the Cathedral of Treviso and the Crystal Palace in Madrid. These structures are why everyone considers ionic style a classical one.