Difference Between Doric, Ionic and Corinthian

Thousands of years ago, when the Ancient Greeks created temples, they were very exact in every aspect of their measurements and layouts for these buildings. Three main architectural “orders” were known as: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Blair Stover will guide in differentiating these orders.

Overall, the differences can be observed in the most simply recognized styles of the column capitals, or the decoration found at the top part of the columns.

The Doric order was introduced first. This can be observed through plain and undecorated column capitals. The actual columns are fluted and the columns do not have a base. Columns grew faintly larger in circumference toward the base. A specific “entablature”, or decoration above the columns, was included in the Doric order. The frieze at the top might have alternating “triglyphs” and “metopes”. Columns met the frieze at the “architrave”.

The Ionic order can be most easily identified through the scrolled capital at the top of the columns. Created in the Archaic period, it was used more often on the Aegean Islands than it was in the Greek mainland. Along with this most recognizable feature, the fluted columns become thinner at the base. Plain, undecorated friezes replace the triglyphs and metopes.

The Corinthian order was introduced at the latest date, of the three. The Late Classical Priod, 430-323 BC, is when the earliest examples have been found. This style was favored by the architecture in Rome. This order utilized columns topped with ornate capital, small scrolls, and acanthus leaves.

Other features of the Corinthian order mimic those of the Ionic order. The variations of the three orders are now found practically everywhere today, bringing a piece of history with it every time an order is used.

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Comments

Very clear language without art jargon. This explanation makes a perfect introduction and summary for art history novices. Thank you.

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