Post 285 – by Gautam Shah
Architectonic elements over openings are mainly of carved, sculpted or formed nature, and occasionally drawn objects. The first set are exploited on the exterior face, whereas the second types are more preferred on interior surfaces.
Exterior elements get the advantage of strong and directional sun light and natural colour-textures of the materials. The interior elements have very subdued illumination and often rendered over plastered surfaces.
Interior elements of drawn objects like paintings, mosaics, and other surface renderings must use colour to convey the depth by contrast and delineation of outlines. Patterns and subject themes are also used for reinforcing the architectonic nature of the elements.
Drawn elements were not possible on exterior faces. Fresco, Tempera or Encaustic techniques of painting used materials that did not weather well. Mosaic work with variegated colour stones, ceramic or glass pieces, were fixed with lime or such cementing materials that gave uncertain results over ageing. Interior renderings, however, in many instances have surpassed the sculpted work.
Interior renderings in post middle ages began to draw shadows of thematic presentations, and these had to match the directions of natural shades within the interior space. For the directional illumination and shadows, contrasting colours and tonal variations were used but sense of perspective was not fully matured.
At other end in Middle East buildings were being converted to Islamic faith. Here instead of drawn stories plain bands of stones were over painted with decorative motif, calligraphic writings, or clad with metal sheets of bronze or gold. In many instance such treatments did not match with the original architecture but were of appliqué nature.
Patterns and themes were used to supplement the functional and decorative character of the opening. The openings, for structural reasons have been narrower in width, then their measures in height. Openings’ treatments were articulated to enhance the perceived width.
‘The Greeks, consciously or unconsciously, practiced extreme simplicity in art, and the fine-grained marble that they worked also encouraged the tendency to leave purity of an outline to speak for itself. Thus, whether on the grand scale of a temple building like the Parthenon or in the single human figure as the Hermes of Olympia, they were content with beauty unadorned by distracting ornament’.
‘The Romans never seem to have been satisfied till they had loaded their monumental buildings with every possible ornamental addition. Here too again the influence of material is apparent; for concrete demanded a disguise, and coarse limestone did not permit of delicate purity of line and thus called for extraneous ornament, so the Romans completed the magnificence of their monuments by a wealth of decoration’. –From: History of Architecture by Sir Banister Fletcher