Arrowsmith, Henry William / The house decorator and painter's guide; containing a series of designs for decorating apartments, suited to the various styles of architecture
[Interior decoration, continued], pp. 53-55
54 all the projection of surface and variety of outline which gave boldness, elegance, and a charming propriety to the Grecian orders, were omitted, and the new capitals mounted on round shafts, had no other effect than would be produced by rough blocks rudely adorned with foliage and basket work. The form of the arch was still more altered. In all previous examples it had been made semicircular, the terminations of the curve resting on the supporting columns. The necessity of an arch which might be varied to suit the height of the column that was to be employed, was probably more felt at this than at any former period. The semicircular arch, which of course required a correspondent regularity in all the proportions of the column, was therefore superseded by the introduction of arches whose abutments were lengthened at pleasure to suit the column that was to be introduced. Some of these arches described a large, and others a small segment, while the imposts also from tle opposite sides were made to curve towards each other in a form something resembling that of a horse-shoe. Another and still more singular change was effected by the introduction of pointed arches, somewhat similar to those afterwards employed in Gothic architecture. In the churches of the period, this arch may be seen intermixed with the round arch both at Constantinople and at Venice. The church of St. Mark in Venice, which was commenced about the year 960 of the Christian era, is one of the most interesting -structures of the period, and its interior demands for a moment our attention, as the best illustration that can be given of the prevailing taste in decorations. Greek artists were em- ployed in the preparation of the most costly marbles and the richest mosaics, the central parts of which consisted of large compartments of serpentine and porphyry, surrounded by borders inlaid with precious marbles in panels of the same material, but of a pure white. The altar, the bishop's throne, the screens, and other parts of the early Christian sanctuary, were thus decorated; and in those smaller members of the design, such as the shafts of columns, in which it was impossible to introduce the compartments of serpentine and porphyry, narrow ribbons of purple and gold were inserted.
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