| Alberti, Leone Battista Architecture 1755, tr. Leoni, James |
Columns, over which ran an Architrave, Freze
and Cornice, according to the Rules just now
laid down for Porticoes; and the rest of the
Void above the Cornice was left quite open
for setting of Statues or large Candlesticks.
Others inclosed the Entrance into such Chapels
with a Walls brought half Way on each Side.
Those who imagine that the great Thickness
of the Walls adds Dignity to a Temple, are
greatly mistaken; for who is there that does
not dislike a Body composed of gouty Limbs?
besides that when the Walls are too thick, they
always intercept the Light.
In the Rotonda at
Rome, the excellent Architect who had the
Care of that great Work having in it Occasion
for thick Walls, built the Ribs entirely of solid
Work, without any Stuffing, and those Inter
spaces which a less skilful Artist would have
stuffed, he employed in Niches and other A
pertures, whereby he saved Expence, and made
the Structure less heavy, and more beautiful.
The Thickness of the Walls must be proporti
oned after the Manner of Columns; that is to
say, their Thickness must correspond to their
Height, as in those.
I have observed that the
Ancients, in building their Temples, used to
divide the Front of their Platform into twelve
Parts; or, when they would make them parti
cularly strong, into nine, and one of those
Parts was the Thickness of the Wall.
cular Temples the Wall was never less high
than half the Diameter of its inner Area;
many made it two Thirds of that Diameter,
and some three Fourths, which was the Height
to which they carried the Wall before they be
gan the Sweep of the Cupola.
But the more
discreet Workmen divided the Circumference
of this circular Platform into four Parts; and
one of those fourth Parts being extended to a
Line was equal to the inward Height of the
Wall, which is as four to eleven: And this
Practice has been also imitated in square Tem
ples as well as round ones, and in many other
Kinds of Structures that were to be covered
But where there were to be
Chapels on each Side in the Wall, to make the
Aperture seem the Larger they sometimes raised
their Wall equal in Height to the whole Breadth
of the Area.
In round Temples the inward
Height of the Wall will not be the same as the
outward: Because within the Wall ends exact
ly where the Sweep of the Arch begins; but
without, it is carried up straight to the Top of
If the Cupola have a Cover on
the Outside made with Degrees like Steps, the
outward Wall will take up a third Part of it;
but if the Cover be made with straight Lines
and a common Slope, then the outward Wall
will take up half.
Nothing is more conveni
ent for building the Walls of a Temple, than
Brick; but then it must be cased with some
There have been many dif
ferent Opinions with Relation to the Adorning
of the Walls of Temples.
At Cyzicus a Town
in Bythinia there was a Temple which had its
Walls adorned with a very beautiful Stone, and all
the Joints pointed with massy Gold.
In the Tem
ple of Minerva at Elis, the Brother of Phidias,
the celebrated Carver, made an Incrustation of
Stuc tempered with Saffron and Milk.
Kings of Ægypt encompassed the Monument
of Simandes, which was the Scpulchre for the
Concubines of Jupiter, with a Circle of Gold
no less than a Cubit or Foot and half broad,
and three hundred sixty-five Cubits round,
with a Day of the Year inscribed upon every
Others condemned this Excess of Or
nament in Temples. Cicero, being guided by
Plato's Opinion, thought it necessary that the
People should be admonished by the Laws to
lay aside all Manner of Delicacy in the Adorn
ing their Temples, and take Care only to have
them perfectly clean and white.
says he, let the Structure of them be beautiful.
I confess, for my own Part, I am very ready to
believe, that Purity and Simplicity of Colour,
as of Life, must be most pleasing to the Divine
Being; and that it is not proper to have any
Thing in a Church that may be likely to draw
off Men's Thoughts from Devotion and fix
them upon the Pleasure and Delight of the
Senses: But still I am of Opinion, that he is
highly to be commended, who, as in other
publick Structures, so also in Temples, without
departing from the Gravity requisite in such
Works, endeavours to have all the Parts, the
Walls, Roof, and Pavement, as handsome and
clegant as possible, still chiefly having it in his
Eye to make all his Ornaments the most dura
ble that may be.
Thus nothing can be more
proper for the Ornament of the Roof on the
Inside than all Sorts of Mosaic Work made of
Marble, Glass, and other lasting Materials.
Stuc-work with Figures, according to the Prac
tice of the Ancients, may be a very handsome
Coat for the Outside.
In both you must take
the greatest Care to chuse proper Places as
well for your Pictures as Figures.
tico, for Instance, is the fittest Place for the
Representation of great Actions in Pictures.