Where is this Temple of Apollo located?
May 3, 2020 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone place the building pictured in this illustration? The print is called Temple of Apollo 1875, but the architecture doesn’t match any Temple of Apollo that I can find online.
posted by aabbbiee to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The page says the source/artist is "Milet." Some googling shows there's an ancient ruin called Didyma that was in the vicinity of an ancient city of that name (Miletus) in modern-day Turkey. Didyma was home to a Temple of Apollo, and this old book shows a column capital from it that is identical to the one in the photo. So I can't speak to the provenance of the image -- it certainly looks more recent than 1875 -- but it appears to be an artist's impression of what the temple originally looked like.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:38 PM on May 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, I don't know any Classical Greek temples with pilasters, the "half-columns" in the wall.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:12 AM on May 4, 2020

What temple of Apollo was built in 1875? You're looking for something Neo-Classical. It could be the facade on the side of some important government building or bank somewhere. But a close up squint at the print makes me wonder if it is not in fact a realistic architects drawing as opposed to a photograph. I doubt you are looking for an ancient building. At the time the picture was made it would have been brand new given how flawless it is with no erosion pitting the stone. I am suspicious if it was not one of the many drawings made during the period when the US capitol buildings were designed and buildings of that style were going up all over the world. The very sharp lines also goes with the likelihood that it is art. It would have been a challenge framing the picture from the exact right vantage on the exact right day with the exact right light conditions, but drawing it from the imagination would be simplified by using such sharp, precises and perfect lines.

I believe this would be something like a courthouse in Connecticut if it was even actually was ever built. The whole edifice is very narrow and doesn't look like it has construction on either side. That would make it the side of a very fancy building, one with a much more ornate front. Of course the front of such a building would be much more famous than the side. That's what people would be photographing nowadays - especially if it is somewhere urban and newer construction close to the side of the building has completely blocked off this view.

I also suspect that the name "Temple of Apollo" may be completely made up. If you had to try to market a print of something that had never been built that you got from a book of neoclassical architecture you'd need a name for it and it started out as Plate XIII, you'd want something more likely to show out in a search engine and that would distinguish it from the other images variously called Plate XL and Plate XXVII that you were also trying to market.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:17 AM on May 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't open your link, is this the image?
If so it is a typical academic reconstruction work, something many architects did as part of their studies, though mostly French architects. It's a bit unusual that it is probably from the site we today call Miletus (guessing from the text and agreeing with Rhaomi), because most did their studies in Rome, but in the last half of the 19th century many architects traveled with archeologists to explore the ruins in the Eastern Mediterranean. You can see it in the late 19th century classicism in Europe, that is more "Greek" than "Roman", compared to the classicism of time of the French Revolution.
American and British classicism is slightly different because the gentlemen who commissioned and/or designed the buildings in those countries were heavily influenced by the 16th century architect and theorist Andrea Palladio.
Building in a "Greek" style.
Building in a "Roman" style
Building in Palladian style
Also, I don't know any Classical Greek temples with pilasters, the "half-columns" in the wall.
Well, these "reconstruction" drawings were often very fanciful, not necessarily following the finds. There are two main reasons for this. Most importantly, they weren't supposed to document reality. They were supposed to be part of a portfolio of drawings that qualified the young architects for work as an architect. So the ability to dream something up was a feature, not a bug. Secondly, they could only see what their former education and knowledge let them see. That is exactly the same today. Doing models and drawings of existing work from fragmentary source material is still an important part of architectural education, though it is no longer allowed to just make any random fantasy, and it is still fascinating to see how the students handle it. We have other tools, but there are still limits to our imagination.

I'm guessing that the image comes from the front of the temple, but behind the portico, as shown in this modern section. As said, one reason that it isn't like the modern section can be that the draftsman "improved" on what he saw. Another that there might have been earth covering part of the stairs in 1875, and the two doors on the side can have been covered with stuff relating to the church that at the time was inside the temple.
posted by mumimor at 9:50 AM on May 4, 2020

Look at this site.
Scroll down at bit, and you can see a plan of the site. The section you are asking about is cut just about where the middle red arrow is, and looking right. Judging from the lettering style, I'd think this is a drawing from the 1930's. You can see at that time, long after 1875, it was still believed that the stair was narrow. So I'm guessing now that the space was filled with rubble and dirt right up to the level of the door or a little lower when the drawing was made. The pilasters are there but the side doors are missing. Actually the drawing seems to be a pretty accurate representation of what was know at the time, which was not much.
This was fun, I've learnt at lot from searching!
posted by mumimor at 10:46 AM on May 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also think this is an artist's imagining of a section of the temple at Didyma: "The Temple of Apollo, Didyma in Turkey (begun c. 330 BCE and left unfinished) stands in the tradition of huge religious buildings of Archaic Ionia. [...] In the cella, which was open to the sky, stood a small tetrastyle free-standing Ionic shrine for the cult statue of Apollo. The walls of this open court (in which were planted trees and contained an oracular spring) on three sides were ornamented with pilasters. On the fourth side, opposite the entrance to the shrine, was a massive staircase of 24 steps that led up between to 2 engaged Corinthian columns to a room whose ceiling was supported by 2 free-standing Corinthian columns."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:02 AM on May 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

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