Pantheon - Table of Contents .............. Architecture Around the World
Interior - Pantheon
Erected 18-128 C.E.
TEXT Beneath Illustrations
Entrance. Monumental bronze door - a copy of the original ... Fluted pilaster
Base of the dome is 23' thick and made with concrete mixed with travertine, while near the top, it's less than five feet thick and made with a lighter volcanic rock (pumice) mixed in.
Rosettes between acanthus-ornamented modillions ... Egg-and-dart ... Leaf-and-dart
Pantheon turned into a Christian church in the 7th century: Santa Maria Rotonda ... Some of the marble on the floor replaced, but original design maintained.
Original-design marble floor with some replacement pieces
oculus (or round opening; the Latin word means "eye") at the apex of
the dome is the only natural source of light inside. As the day
progresses, a ray of sunlight travels across the interior, illuminating
niches that formerly contained statues of Roman gods (the temple was
dedicated to all the gods, or "pantheon"). A gilded bronze rosette
was originally set inside each coffer to suggest stars in the heavens.
The geometry and details of design create a cosmic symbol to match the
purpose of the temple.
What makes the interior so pleasing to the eye is the perfect harmony of its proportions. The width of the dome (142 feet) is exactly equal to the height of the drum walls. If doubled, the hemispheric dome would form a sphere that filled the rotunda and touched the floor.
Interior surfaces are also richly decorated with multicolor marbles and bronze.
The floor, paved with disks and squares of marble, porphyry, and granite, reflects the coffered ceiling.
A beam of sunlight falling from the overhead oculus travels across the surface of the interior, illuminating statues in niches and changing in intensity and color as the day progresses.
Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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