1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > The Erectheum

(Part 59)

The Erectheum

In concluding this notice as to temples, we must now allude to one example, very beautiful in itself, but an exception to all rules -- the Erechtheum at Athens. It consists of an Ionic hexaprostyle in front (Plate XI. Fig. 1), resting on a bold, continuous, and well-proportioned stylobate, and forming the entrance to a parallelogramic cella, but, from all that has yet been discovered, without a pronaos in antis. The back front consists of four columns, like those of the portico, attached in antis; and the flanks are broad and bold, crowned by the well-proportioned and chaste entablature, with the enriched congeries of mouldings and running ornament of the antae under it. In the absence of a pronaos to give depth to the portico, the composition was defective, but otherwise simple and harmonious. It was enlarged by the attachment of a tetraprostyle to one of its sides, Ionic certainly, like that in front, but different both in manner and in size; beautiful in itself, but a blot on the main building, with which it harmonies in no one particular, for the apex of its pediment only reaches to the cornice of the other. In a similar situation, against the other side, is attached a similar arrangement of Caryatides, a tetraprostyle of female figures raised on a lofty basement, and yet not reaching to the entablature of the main building-according in no one particular either with it or with the portico on the other side, and altogether forming one of the most heterogeneous compositions to be found in ancient art.

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