Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

triumphal arches, stately and magnificent temples, were provided for the public. Schools of architecture, which none but persons of good birth were allowed to enter, were established, with professors and prizes for the meritorious. With all this care, one might have supposed a plentiful harvest would have been reaped. But, alas! with all the expense, with all the fine marbles that were employed, with the bronze and gold lavished on the construction and decoration of the edifices erected, the art was not re-established on its true principles. Every thing was rich; but, notwithstanding the exaggerated praises of the ignorant writers of the day, every thing was deficient in real beauty, Richness of material will never compensate for want of elegance in form. “The buildings of the new city,” observes Gibbon, “were executed by such artificers as the reign of Constantine could afford; but they were decorated by the hands of the most celebrated masters of the age of Pericles and Alexander. To revive the genius of Phidias and Lysippus surpassed, indeed, the power of a Roman emperor; but the immortal productions which they had bequeathed to posterity were exposed without defence to the rapacious vanity of a despot. By his commands the cities of Greece and Asia were despoiled of their most valuable ornaments. The trophies of memorable wars, the objects of religious veneration, the most finished statues of the gods and heroes, of the sages and poets of ancient times, contributed to the splendid triumph of Constantinople, and gave occasion to the remark of the historian Cedrenus, who observes, with some enthusiasm, that nothing seemed wanting except the souls of the illustrious men whom those admirable monuments were intended to represent.” 201. In Rome, the triumphal arch erected in honour of Constantine presents, to this day, an example of the barbarous and tasteless spirit of the age. It is nothing less than an incongruous mixture, in sculpture and architecture, of two periods remote from each other. But, discordant as the styles are, the absurdity of placing on it part of the triumphs of Trajan, whose arch was robbed for the occasion, is still greater. Not only was Trajan's arch despoiled of its bas reliefs, but the columns and capitals, which the architect, from ignorance, scarcely knew how to put together, were stolen for the occasion. We have used the term ignorance of the architect, who, (if the monument were not standing, the fact could scarcely be credited,) with the finest models before his eyes, placed modillions with dentils in his imposts, and left the latter out in the cornice. We leave the subject with disgust. 202. The partition of the empire at the death of Constantine was injurious as well to the arts as to the empire; and at its reunion by Constantius in 353, he exhibited but little solicitude about their prosperity. On a visit of thirty days to Rome, he presented the city with the obelisk that now stands in front of the Basilica of S. Giovanni Laterano. It had been intended by Constantine for his new city; and, after being brought down the Nile from the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis, was conveyed to the banks of the Tiber instead of those of the Bosphorus. After being landed about three miles from the city, it was first elevated in the Circus Maximus. This piece of granite is about 115 ft. in length. 203. Julian's name is in bad odour with the Christian world; but he ought, nevertheless, to have justice rendered to him for his administration of the affairs of the empire, his love of freedom, and his patronage of the arts. This emperor, at Constantinople, constructed some porticoes and improved the port; and, even at so remote a spot as Paris, there still remain the ruins of a palace and baths of his construction; a circumstance which should make his memory an object of respect, perhaps veneration, to the inhabitants of that city. 204. Under Valentinian and Valens the arts received little attention, though the former manifested some care for them. Gratian was entitled to a sort of negative praise for leaving the empire of the West to his brother Valentinian II., and that of the East to Theodosius; who, after the death of the former, held the sway of the whole empire, patronising architecture, and erecting many large edifices in Constantinople. After this the empire was lastingly divided. On the death of Theodosius, Arcadius succeeded him in the East, and in the West Honorius, under whom, whilst he was ingloriously enjoying the pleasures and luxuries of his palace at Ravenna, Alaric, king of the Visigoths, entered and pillaged Rome in the year 410. Honorius raised or repaired several of the Basilicae at Rome; among them that of S. Paolo fuori le Murā; and, in honour of the two emperors, a triumphal arch was erected in the city in 406, but of this no remains are in existence. 205. After this time, for sixty years the empire of the West was in a state of distraction. Nine princes filled the throne during that period, on and off the stage, rather like actors than monarchs. But the extinction of the Roman name could be no longer protracted. In 455, Genseric, king of the Vandals, gave up Rome for pillage to his soldiers for the space of three days, and some years after, his example was followed by Ricimer. In 476, the Roman empire in the West was annihilated. 206. We have thus, in this and the preceding section, shortly traced the history of Roman architecture from its dawn among the Etruscans to the close of the regal power in Rome; and from that period to the time of its culmination under Augustus, an age of great splendour in the art, comparable even with the best days of Athens, if allowance be made for the respective habits of the nations and the climates under which they were placed. From the zenith we have followed it in its setting under Dioclesian, and after that through its crepusculum, which, in 476, was succeeded by total darkness; a darkness, however, not without meteors and coruscations which occasionally enabled us to enlighten the reader in the journey he has undertaken with us. The revolutions, however, of empires, like those of the globe on its axis, bring other dawns: such is the case with the arts, which follow those revolutions; and we shall hereafter have to record another dawn of them, which, like the light of our great luminary, had its day-spring in the east, whence came the architects of Venice and Pisa. But, before we approach that period, it will be necessary to take a cursory glance at those monuments of Rome and other places under its dominion, in which the ruins alone attest the extraordinary power and magnificence of that State, and to examine the details of their construction as respects what simply presents itself to the eye. 207. We now, therefore, proceed to a view, 1. Of the religious buildings of the Romans in quadrangular and circular temples; 2. Of their public buildings in fora, triumphal arches, bridges, aqueducts, theatres, amphitheatres, and baths and circi; 3. Of their private houses and tombs; confining ourselves to those ruins in the city, and occasionally the provinces, which best illustrate the subject. 208. Temples. — 1. The quadrangular Roman temple partook very much of its Greek, or perhaps Etruscan, original; though occasionally, as in the Temple of Peace, there is a very considerable deviation from the type. But the exceptions to the general rule are very few indeed in number. The most beautiful temple of the Corinthian order that perhaps ever existed in the world was the Temple of Jupiter Stator, in the Campo Vaccino (Forum), at Rome. We adopt the name of Jupiter Stator, because by that, though its propriety cannot be now ascertained, it is generally known. Recent excavations have proved that it was an octastyle peripteral temple, with twelve columns in flank, and that the cell occupied eight columns with their intercolumniations in depth. No Greek work could surpass in elegance and beauty the profile of the Corinthian order employed in this edifice. The capital, whether we consider it in design or execution, is unparalleled. At the same time we must admit that it bears every mark of the improvements that had been effected through the medium of Greek artists. Only three columns of it remain; these are 47-65 ft. high, their lower diameter being 4.84; so that, in terms of the diameter, the columns are 9.8 diameters high. The height of the entablature is a small fraction less than one quarter the height of the column. The intercolumniations are, as nearly as possible, 1 5 diameter of the column; whence the size of the temple will be easily determined. 209. Almost at the foct of the Capitol, not far from the Temple of Jupiter Stator, stands the Corinthian Temple of Jupiter Tonans, reputed to have been built by Augustus, of which, as of the last, only three columns remain. This was an hexastyle peripteral (except on the side towards the rock) temple, 115 ft. long and 92 ft. wide, measured from outside to outside of column. The columns are 47-08 ft. high, and their lower diameter is 4.60 ft.; their height, therefore, in terms of the diameter, is very nearly 10} diameters. The height of the entablature is 9.77 ft., or not quite one fifth of the height of the column. The intercolumniations are 1:56 diameter. There is a tale in Suetonius, that Augustus had bells suspended round this temple for the purpose of scaring the birds away, which their agitation by the wind effected. The style of this temple is inferior to that last described, yet it is not without beauty, though we must allow the cornice is, as compared with it, deficient in effect. 210. The Temple of Mars Ultor was one of those erected by Augustus. Its profile exhibits a fine and bold example of the Corinthian order. Its whole length was about 116 ft., and its breadth about 73 ft. The cornice of the entablature is wanting. The intercolumniations are about 13 diameter. 211. In the Campo Vaccino are the remains of a Corinthian temple, built by M. Aurelius in honour of Antoninus, his predecessor, and Faustina, the daughter of that emperor and wife of M. Aurelius. It was prostylos and hexastylos: the columns are 46:10 ft. high; the entablature 11:03 ft.; diameter of the columns 4-85 ft.; and the intercolumniations, except the centre one, which is wider thau the others, are 1} diameter of the columns. From the above it follows that the columns are 93 diameters high, and the entablature rather less than one fourth the height of the column. The frieze is ornamented with griffins and candelabra in a very good style of art. It is not our intention to describe more than the principal temples, with their parts, but to afford to the reader in this place a general view of the art; we shall therefore merely mention those of the Maison Carrée at Nismes, and the little edifice at Trevi, which last is erected in a very vitiated style: both are of the Corinthian order, and quadrangular in form. 212. Rome is very poor in examples of Ionic temples, the only two remaining being that of Fortuna Virilis and that of Concord; the first not very pure in its detail, and the latter in the very worst style. The Temple of Fortuna Virilis is of the species called prostyle and tetrastyle; that is, with four columns in front and seven on the sides, whereof the cell occupies four intercolumniations. The height of the columns is 27:35 ft.; the lower diameter of the columns 3:11 ft.; and the height of the entablature 6'78 ft. A peculiarity has been noticed in this example of the different centres of the ornamented members being ranged so as to fall with exactness over the axes of the columns. 213. The Temple of Concord, which is a restoration, as the inscription on it proves, of a former temple that stood on the spot, is most probably of the age of Constantine, and scarcely deserves the notice here taken of it, except as a connecting link in the chain of art. It was hexastyle and peripteral. The eight columns which remain are of red and white granite of different diameters. The bases are Attic, and without plinths, except those of the angular columns. The capitals are inelegant and clumsily sculptured. The mouldings of the architrave have been chiselled away to form a plane surface for containing the inscription. Modillions and dentils are met with in the cornice, and the frieze in the interior was sculptured. The height of the columns is 42.86 ft., and their lower diameter 4.48 ft.; so that they are about 9% diameters high. The height of the entablature is 7-2 ft., or about one sixth of the height of the column. G * 3


214. The circular temples of Rome and its neighbourhood will next be mentioned. Two of them, that of Vesta at Rome and of the Sybil at Tivoli, of the Corinthian order, are of considerable antiquity. Their cells are cylindrical, and are supposed to have been covered with domes resting on the walls, though that is by no means certain. The Temple of Vesta is raised on three steps, whilst that of the Sybil is raised on a circular basement about five feet high. Both the cellae are encircled about with a colonnade of the Corinthian order. The capitals of the Temple of the Sybil are extraordinary as pieces of effective art. The leaves of the capital, instead of being appliquées to the bell, as in other examples, are in this cut into it, and impart a magical appearance to it. The tout ensemble of this temple seems to have been conceived with an eye to its situation, and the order seems calculated only for the spot on which it stands (see fig. 116.). The circular Temple

Fig. 116. - £ o, ris syair. of Bacchus is of a late date. In its exterior there is nothing to remark, except that it has lost a portico at its entrance which originally belonged to it. It consists of a central circular cell, if such it may be called, surrounded by a circular aisle, the former being separated from the latter by twelve pairs of double columns, coupled in the direction of the radii of the plan; from which columns arches spring, carrying a cylindrical wall 39-36 ft. diameter, covered with a hemispherical dome 65.6 ft. high from the pavement. The aisle or corridor is 14.75 ft. wide, surrounding, as we have said, the double colonnade, from which to the exterior wall is a semicircular vault, whose sofite is 32 ft. high from the pavement. The Temple of Minerva Medica is in a very ruined state; little more than half of it is standing. It was, when perfect, of a cylindrical shape, 110 ft. in diameter; but the interior was formed into ten plane vertical faces, each whereof had a semicircular recess open towards the centre of the building. A hemispherical brick dome covered the temple, whose vertex is 113 ft. from the pavement. A semicircular wing, covered by a hemispherically formed vault, stood on each side of the building, but they are now in ruins. Fig. 117, shows the ruin as it was in 1816, from a memorandum we then made. A rectangular ves- tibule with four CorinFig. 117 Texarle or MiNERVA Menica. thian columns formed the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

entrance, and was surmounted by a pediment roof. The temple now stands in a private
s: We have reserved for the last example of a circular temple the celebrated Pantheon,
supposed to have formed at one time a portion of the baths of Agrippa; but whether with
truth we must decline investigating, as unconnected with our present purpose. Our own
belief is, that the body of the temple was erected in the time of the republic with simple
large niches, as in figs. 118. and 119., in the left sides whereof it is shown as originally built,
and on the right sides as now standing,
and that the portico was appended
by Agrippa about A. D. 14, at which
time the columns were added to the
niches, and other alterations made, as
seen on the right half of the plan
and section. The interior is circular,
and about 139 ft. diameter, measuring
from inside to inside of the columns,
which are about 33 ft. high. At a
height of 75 ft. from the ground in
the interior springs the hemispherical
dome, which has five horizontal ranks
of caissons or panels, the top of the
dome being terminated by what is
technically termed an eye, or circular
opening, about 27 ft. diameter. All
that is found in the temple is of the
Corinthian order.
(216.) Fig. 120, is an elevation of
the Pantheon, with the portico of the
Parthenon below it, for the purpose
of comparing the relative sizes of the
porticoes of the two buildings. The
portico, it will be seen, is octastyle,
and projects 62 ft. from the circum-
ference of the circular part of the
edifice. The shafts of the columns
are plain, and the portico is sur-
mounted by a pediment similar
to that on the wall of the building.
The columns are 47-0.3 ft. high, and
their lower diameter 4.79 ft. The
entablature is 10:22 ft., or nearly, not quite a fifth of the height of the column. The
profile of the order is bold and well
conceived, and the execution in a
good style. It has been stripped of
its ornaments, many whereof were
bronze, by the cupidity of the pos-
£ sessors of power at various times.

- - £
- \\ E. ~. Though the present interior is com-
- - paratively modern, we think it right

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to give the following particulars of the order: — The columns are 34.67 == ft. high, the lower diameter being 3.64 ft. The shafts are fluted, and |-|| £ have what are called cablings up one third of their height. It will be seen on inspection of the plan that these columns are placed in front of the great niches. We are not aware that the circumstance whereto we are about to advert has been heretofore noticed, and we give the result of our calculation in round numbers only, as an approximation to the truth. The rules for lighting apartments will form the subject of a future section. We shall here merely observe, that the contents of the building, measuring round the inner convexity of the columns, and not calculating the niches, is about 1,787,300 cubic feet, and that the area of the eye of the dome is about 32 square ff., from which it follows that 2226 cubic ft. of space in this building are lighted by 1 foot superficial of light. The building is neither gloomy nor

« ZurückWeiter »