1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > Roman Architecture: Mouldings and Ornament

(Part 73)

Roman Architecture: Mouldings and Ornament (Plate XIII)

The mouldings used in Roman architectural works are the same as the Grecian in general form, but they vary materially from the in contour. The Roman cyma-recta is projected much more than the Greek, with a deeper flexure. The ovolo is represented in the Roman style by a moulding whose outline is nearly he convex quadrant of a circle, or a quarter round, and sometimes it is nearly that of the quadrant of an ellipse. The Roman torus is either a semicircle or a semi-ellipse; and the bead is a torus, except in its application, and in being smaller, and generally projected rather more than half the figure whose form it bears. The cavetto, in Roman architecture, is nearly a regular curve, being sometimes the concave quadrant of a circle, or the reverse of an ovolo, and sometimes a smaller segment. A Roman scotia is more deeply cut, and is consequently less delicate than the same member in a Greek congeries: its form frequently approaches that of a concave semi-ellipse.

The enrichments of Roman mouldings are, for the most part, similar to those of the Greek, but less delicate and graceful both in design and drawing. Those of the cyma and ovolo are particularly referred to, but the Romans used others besides. Raffled leaves form a favourite enrichment in the architecture of the Romans; indeed these are hardly less frequent in their works than the honeysuckle is in those of the Greeks. Mouldings were enriched with them; and a raffled leaf masks the angles of carved cymas and ovolos in the former, as a honeysuckle does in the latter. Nevertheless, the honeysuckle and lotus are both found in Roman enrichments, particularly the latter, and perhaps even more than in Greek. It is not uncommon to find examples of Roman architecture completely overdone with ornament, -- every moulding carved, and every straight surface, whether vertical or horizontal, sculptured with foliage or with historical or characteristic subjects in relief.

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