Photo Credit: RovingRube
02 November 13







(Notes Below)

ICorinthian column, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Corinthian column, Metropolitan Museum of Art 

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The Rube had a hard "c" mnemonic to remember this one: A-Can-thus = Cor-inthian. If a column has acanthus leaves curling out of the capital, it's Corinthian. It was the only mnemonic he could come up with to tell the difference between the three major Greek orders of columns: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian (which are named for the areas of ancient Greece of which they were characteristic). Acanthus, sometimes called "bear's breeches", is mainly valued for its ornamental foliage

However, today he discovered that the Roman Com-posite [punctuation Rube's] order has acanthus leaves too, as well as elements of the Ionic order, which he took to be the scroll-like element which he now saw sticking out of the top corners here, above the leaves.

Further research showed this one is still Corinthian: #1 and #2 above show samples* of Composite capitals on the left vs. Corinthian on the right. In #1 the Composite tends more to the Ionic, and #2 towards the Corinthian. But the true Corinthian has 4 "scrolls" of which two bump heads in the center, and which arise out of the foliage instead of sitting horizontally across the top, so they seem more like furled fronds. Also, the Corinthian has a flower at the top, and the Composite doesn't.

But still, the mnemonic is ruined.

*Scanned from the 1916 "General Catalog of Jacobson and Co.".

Full Size Image Restore Image Composite vs. Corinthian Composite vs. Corinthian #2