Reflections on Interpretation: the origins of the Doric frieze

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The explication of the Doric frieze and its run of
triglyphs is a much-studied problem that remains unresolved.
In 2002 I published a study of the formal affinities
between tripods and triglyphs, seeing in the former
an inspiration for the latter. Further research into the origins
of Greek architectural design has revealed a more nuanced
and multifaceted nature. This article advances debate
by showing the tripod aspect to be only one of
several aspects, each of which have partial validity.
The possibility that architects acquired ideas from
prestigious art-offerings is confirmed by examples from
the sphere of capital design. These show how clues taken
from other realms of production did not constitute the
point of departure for architectural schemes, but were
rather grafted onto formal structures that were already
partly established. Similarly, the Doric frieze adheres to a
genre of linear friezes alternating rectangular fields with
vertical dividers. The popularity of such schemes in the
Geometric period, however, does not exclude the revival
of the Minoan-Mycenaean split-rosette frieze, with its
tri-partite dividers. I contend that the Doric frieze was
born of a melding that saw the dividers further inflected
by the traits of tripods. It is a case of origins, not a single
origin. What is more, in the development of the canonic
solution there is also a place for construction that finds
sympathy with Vitruvius’s testimony on the subject. To
make sense of the orders we must embrace hybridity,
eclecticism, artistic inspiration and practicalities, along
with ambiguities and contradictions that flow from such
a multi-faceted creation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchitektōn
Subtitle of host publication timētikos tomos gia ton kathēgētē Manolē Korre = Honorary volume for professor Manolis Korres
EditorsKostas Zampas
Place of PublicationAthens
PublisherMelissa Publishing House
Pages645-658
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9789602043530
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

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Wilson Jones, M. (2016). Reflections on Interpretation: the origins of the Doric frieze. In K. Zampas (Ed.), Architektōn: timētikos tomos gia ton kathēgētē Manolē Korre = Honorary volume for professor Manolis Korres (pp. 645-658). Athens: Melissa Publishing House.