Colonnade Curiosity

Many visitors to historic #Charleston are impressed with the wealth of classic architecture that makes our city so special and scenic. The styles of ancient Romans and Greeks had become all the rage in Europe in the 17 and 1800’s, and those styles also became very popular in America. What tourists are seeing in abundance with the columns, arches domes and elaborate details is what the Greek and Romans treasured. As I often explain on my walking tours, the architectural concepts of the ancients can provide some interesting optical illusions, and one is called “entasis”, which comes from the Greek for “stretching”. The towering fluted Corinthian columns pictured here at Charleston’s Trinity Methodist Church appear to be uniform in circumference from top to bottom, but in fact are slightly larger at the base, tapering almost imperceptibly to the top. The concept is classical displayed in the 451BC Parthenon in Athens, Greece, where the symmetrical look of the columns is actually created by the asymmetry of entasis. Because the base is closer to the eye, a perfectly uniform column shape would appear to be concave and unstable, but the entasis corrects the visual illusion with its own. Also, an interesting note is that big columns such as the one pictured are made of stucco over brick, with details at the top sometimes made of zinc. Come join me on the tour, and I’ll show you. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Classic Columns”

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