The Tuscan Order

The Tuscan Style, with its plain form and the absence of carvings or ornaments, is one of the simplest architectural form developed in ancient Italy.

The Origins

The Tuscan order is a classical order born in Rome that is solid, yet simple.  The influence of the Doric order is evident, even if it features unfluted columns and has no triglyphs or guttae. The Romans did not see this style as a separate order, thus Vitruvius does not mention it in his manuscript “De architectura”.

It was first classified as a separate formal order during the Italian Renaissance.

Colonnade Saints, Saint Peter's Square, upper-half of the temple is shown with 10 or so columns that fill the photo. Moreover, a blue skies occupy the background of the photo.
Saint Statues on the Colonnades of St Peter’s Square. – Vatican City

Image source: by Sarah&Boston

The Tuscan Order is seen, because of its simplicity and proportions, as a Roman adaptation of the Doric. This solid order was used in military architecture, such as docks and warehouses, when they were dignified by architectural treatment. It is suitable for fortified places, such as city gates and other structures used in war.

Two Doric Order columns shown from the ground up. The rood can also be seen, and there are blue skies that fill the right, top side of the photo.
Doric Order

Image source: by It’s No Game

Differences Between Doric and Tuscan Order

The Tuscan order, when compared to the classical Doric order, has  less severe elements. It is likely that the Romans invented this order. For example, at the base of the column there is the presence of a molding just below the capital, and the stem of the column is often smooth, without grooves.

A drawing of the features of the Doric oder broken into several pieces.
‘Doric-Order, Dossils, Double Fiche’

Image source: by Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez

Drawing of the features of the Tuscan order separated into many pieces. The photo is tan and drawn with pencil or pen it seems.
‘The Tuscan order’

Image source: by Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez

The Tuscan Column is a Roman adaptation of the Doric. It has an unfluted shaft and a simple echinus-abacus capital. It is similar to the Roman Doric in proportion and profile, but it is much plainer. The column is seven diameters high. Among all orders, it is the most solid in appearance.

Style Features

This style has the following features:

  • Shaft sets on a simple base, is usually plain, not fluted (grooved)
  • Shaft is slender, with proportions similar to a Greek Ionic column
  • Smooth, round capitals (tops)
  • No carvings or other ornaments
Picture showing some Tuscan Columns, surrounded by vegetation.
An example of Tuscan Column

Image source: by Following Hadrian

The Tuscan Order Today

There are many important examples of Tuscan Order found today:

  • Santa Maria della Pace (Pietro da Cortona, 1656) in Rome.
  • Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne (Baldassarre Peruzzi) in Rome.
  • Various buildings in Europe that reach up to the late nineteenth century.
Santa Maria Della pace, Piazza Navona, Rome. The stone building sits in the center of the photo, there are 7 columns that sit on the bottom center of the photo, and hold up the circular roof. Above there sits a temple-like structure.
Santa Maria Della Pace, Piazza Navona, Rome

Image source: by Pjposullivan1

We can also find several examples in England:

  • Covent Garden by Inigo Jones (1633) in St Paul’s.
  • West Wycombe Park.
  • The Palladian house of Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire.
St Pauls, Covent Garden, by Inigo Jones. A stone temple sits in the center with various tourists surrounding the front of the building. There are four smooth columns that hold up the triangular roof of the structure.
St Paul, Covent Garden by Inigo Jones

Image source: by stevecadman

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