Plecnik capitals you can see

IMG_6217IMG_6220IMG_6221IMG_6213IMG_6219IMG_6208IMG_6210IMG_6218IMG_6216IMG_6215IMG_6222IMG_6214IMG_6212IMG_6211IMG_6207Here is that page of column capitals disambiguated from the shot taken and sent to TradArch by Angelo Gueli yesterday and posted in a cropped and undisambiguated (I think that’s a word) by me. The photos were too small for readers to examine very helpfully with the naked eye. Angelo saw my post and shot each capital on those pages separately and sent them to me. Here they are.

But I cannot let the opportunity created by Angelo’s compassion pass without comment. Now that you can closely peruse each capital, you can see that all of them possess a uniquely expressive character that arises from features that would be purged by modernists, just as former Bauhaus founder and director Walter Gropius literally threw out Harvard’s famous collection of classical plasters, causing dumbkopf architecture-school deans around the nation and the world to do likewise, as if they were an unusually idiotic species of sheep.

Let’s shove the nasty modernists aside and focus our attention on enjoying the beauty of the Plecnik capitals. I tried to figure out which of them comes closest to the canonical. It’s a tough quiz, but I suppose the closest must be the sixth, which seems to be a regular column of the Tuscan order but with a large fasces, as I think it that scroll-like tubular feature is called, intervening between the Tuscan capital what would otherwise be the entablature above were it not that a coffered ceiling rests upon the fasces, an ornament that derives from the symbol for Roman authority.

Which is my favorite? That’s just as tough a nut to crack. Perhaps it is the second capital with the melancholy face between the two Ionic scrolls. Since, according to Cognitive Architecture, by Ann Sussman and Justin Hollander, our brains read faces as their number one job, maybe that explains my preference here. But I also like the capital forged from four columns arising to their own capitals at the top of a post.

It is almost impossible not to feel outrage at the meatheadedness that has robbed the world of the joy of classicism.

Here I leave readers to luxuriate alone in this heterodoxual display.IMG_6209

 

 

 

 

 

 

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Plecnik capitals you can see

  1. David,

    Nothing to do with Plecnik, but this remark of yours caught my eye:

    “Dumbkopf architecture-school deans around the nation and the world to do likewise, as if they were an unusually idiotic species of sheep.”

    Those individuals, who played the determining role in destroying American architectural education, were not stupid. They were unscrupulous in selling out to an untried foreign “fad”, and totally unprofessional in not even thinking about possible devastating consequences. They betrayed their schools, their students, the profession, and the country in general. Strange, but I never read of any one of them repenting later on.

    Best wishes,
    Nikos

    Like

    • I entirely agree, Nikos. My use of the word stupid is here broadly defined. Stupidity can be highly intelligent, as in thought so silly that it must come from a college professor (present company excepted, of course). Unwise is a more accurate word than stupid, but lacks the semantic punch. But you are right. What Gropius and his allies did was not accidental. It was far more sinister.

      Like

  2. stevejcoyle says:

    Wonderful collection of beautiful, textural, functional artifact by the master artisan. thank you, David.
    Steve Coyle

    Like

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