It was called that because in the Roman Republic when there was a cizen army

It was called that because in the roman republic when

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Mar>us, the field of Mars. It was called that because in the Roman Republic, when there was aci>zen army, the army would meet and train here. Now, we’ve just moved over this lovelysquared pond, and we’re looking at the flank of an enormously important building, thePantheon. The Rotunda, the round part, we wouldn’t really see in an>quity. We would see thepart that has the eight columns across the front that looks like a tradi>onal temple. We like tosay that it was built as a building with a surprise on the inside. Because it does look like aregular Greek or Roman temple but when you get inside, that’s when you no>ce that there’sactually a rotunda. I just want to spend a second marvelling at the scale of this structure. Lookat those columns, they are enormous. The ability to get stones that large upright is just aphenomenal feat in itself. It’s phenomenal and even more so when you consider that this isgranite and it’s all from Egypt. So it was brought from very far away. This is a building thatcelebrates the Roman emperors. This building we know had statues of Julius Caesar andAugustus, so we think that this building was dedicated always to the worship of emperors. Sothis space opens up just magically. If you stop on the threshold, and you hold your headstraight, I always say “what can you see?” And everybody always agrees that you can see thehole in the dome up at the top, we call it the eye, you can see the floor, and you can see the twosides leQ and right. That is to say that this is a grandiose space. But it’s right at the limit ofhuman vision, and for me it always defines what is the classical. which is always derived fromthe human form, its propor>ons and its limita>ons. And by building a building that exactlycorresponds to the limits of our vision it ennobles us, it makes us feel big and great as we canfeel as humans. It doesn’t reduce us. Had it been ten >mes bigger, we would have feltourselves reduced to the size of an ant, or something. The building is obsessively concernedwith circular form. But it is also concerned with squares. We look at the floor we actually seethis play of squares and circles. And then of course there are the coffers that create thisbeau>ful sense of rhythm. Absolutely. And no>ce there is a play of squares and circles becausethese are square coffers that give us a semi circular dome. But what’s interes>ng to me about itis first of all it’s painted and when you go there today, the paint has been completely lost. In adome of heaven mo>fs. So the ground of the dome is painted blue, the coffers are highlight inyellow as if radia>ng light of the sun, and in the middle were probably rose[es that aresupposed to be suns or stars. And even in an>quity, we know from a historian who wrote onlya hundred years aQer the building was build. People wondered, how did they build that dome?How could they do that? They marveled at it even in an>quity. The light is very interes>ng. Ifyou look at the coffering, you can get the idea that you know the light from the eye is going todirect the sunbeam’s to different coffers at different >mes of day, on different days of the year.
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