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The Greeks defined beauty in human terms.  The body of men and women provided a template for perfection, the ideal form from which all design should stem.   You can see the pursuit of this perfection in the art and architecture of the Ancient Greeks.

The Column

vitruvian.jpg (13487 bytes) rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) The column itself is a tribute to the human body.   The proportion of the column mirrors the proportions of the human body.   Illustrated by Vitruvian Man, a Renaissance drawing by Leonardo da Vinci based on the ideas of the Greek thinker Vitruvias, the width of the human form is equal to 1/6th of its height.

From that comes the three orders of Greek columns:

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rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) Doric Column

1/6th proportion



ICol.gif (4053 bytes) rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) Ionic Column

1/7th proportion


CCol.gif (5819 bytes) rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) Corinthian Column

A hybrid

Tribute to nature

The Capitals

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rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) Ionic

Ram's horns

corinthians.gif (5784 bytes) rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) Corinthian

Leaves reflect nature

  The Doric model is classic Greek, found in the Parthenon, the temple to Athena. The temple atop the acropolis not only incorporates the column, but also the other great Greek idea:  the golden rectangle, a shape the Greeks believed defined beautiful simplicity and the numerical value of perfection.

Shell.jpg (7415 bytes) rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes) They derived the shape from the natural occurence of the spiral, found in everything from shells to flowers.  The shape itself comes from the infinite nature of the spiral - within the spiral, a rectangle can be formed that can divide itself into an infinite number of equally proportional rectangles.  Just ask Donald.
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The Parthenon was built by Pericles during the Greek golden age after the Persian Wars. It originally housed a statue of Athena.

Elevation.jpg (20365 bytes) rt_arrow.jpg (805 bytes)  The simple design of the facade of the structure reflects the Greek desire to keep things simple, relying on simple principles of design to speak for themselves.  At right, two places the golden rectangle is designed into the Parthenon. Phi1.jpg (5089 bytes)
Phi2.jpg (5363 bytes)

Greek Art

...also mirrored the admiration for the human form.

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