The Elements of Classical Architecture: The Corinthian Order

Mason Roberts leads the opening lecture

Mason Roberts leads the opening lecture

On Saturday, January 28, architects and non-architects alike had the opportunity to try their own hand at drawing elements of the Corinthian Order. Instructor Mason Roberts began the course by sharing slides and explained the history of the five classical orders. He explained how each evokes a different character and detailed how the columns tend to align with the spirit of the building they support.

Mason discussed the specific identity and origin of the Corinthian Order, which included an origin myth by Vitruvius. Central to its design and historical narrative are the acanthus leaves on its capital. There are instances in which standard elements of the Corinthian Order are modified for the sake of reflecting a building’s character or function: one prominent example is the Capitol in DC which features Corinthian columns that incorporate tobacco leaves and corn cobs, two important American crops, instead of the acanthus.

Michael Mesko assists the class by drawing an example

Michael Mesko assists students with an example

After the opening lecture students the drawing exercise, which  consisted of three separate drawings. First was the layout of the Order which included the base, column, and capital. Next was a detailed drawing of the base. Finally, students were asked to tackle the intricate capital and its famous acanthus leaves. Both Mason and Michael Mesko, who was assisting, helped students at their desks as the tutorial progressed and the exercises became increasingly challenging. The class was accessible to all skill levels and students with little to no experience had no difficulty keeping up. It was a great success and everyone left more knowledgeable about one of the Orders of the classical canon.

A student’s final drawing

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