In classical antiquity many plant species were a source of inspiration in art and architecture. An emblematic case is Acanthus mollis, a Western Mediterranean species, although many Mediterranean countries Floras are in contradiction with respect to its native distribution. Two subspecies are known: A. mollis subsp. mollis distributed in Italy, France and Croatia, and A. mollis subsp. platyphyllus growing in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. In other Mediterranean countries it should be an introduced taxon, such as in Greece and Turkey where the native species is A. spinosus. Although the maximum spread of the Acanthus leaf in architecture occurred in Roman times, the Corinthian capital was born in Greece, portraying A. mollis. Among the earliest examples we remember the Doric Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae in Peloponnese, built in 450-425 BC. probably by Ictino, the Tholos at Epidaurus (360-330 BC.), characterized by Doric columns in the exterior, while the inner colonnade consists of 14 Corinthian columns. The leaf carved in the stone is unequivocally A. mollis. The invention of the Corinthian capital is attributed, without certain proof, both to Callimaco and Ictino, which operated in Athens and in the Peloponnese. As this species was not present as native in Greece at that time, it was seen and designed taking inspiration from some place in Sicily or Magna Greece or from cultivated plants originating in those areas. The first examples of this capital fall into areas of Doric ethnicity. A city founded by this ethnic group that had intense cultural exchanges with the mother country was Syracuse, where A. mollis is widespread. This city seems to have played an important role in the the genesis of this architectural element, which is an evidence of cultural influences implemented in the motherland starting from the colonies become autonomous.
|Titolo:||Why did Acanthus mollis, native to West Mediterranean, become a so relevant artistic and symbolic element arising from ancient Greece?|
MINISSALE, Pietro (Primo) (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|