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Pediment

A pediment[1]

Pediments are roof gables that are often triangular above horizontal structures or surfaces that were a major factor in Greek Classical Architecture.[2] They are commonly found on urban and cultural buildings worldwide.

In the Parthenon, sculptures are found within the tympanum, or the triangular area within the pediment. These sculptures illustrate scenes from Greek mythology.[3] However, in the United States, pediments do not usually feature such ornate sculptures and designs like those in the Parthenon.


Pediments at Columbia UniversityEdit

IMG 3583

A pediment above the entrance to Earl Hall, Columbia University

IMG 3584

Earl Hall, Columbia University

IMG 3569

An apartment building in Manhattan with a pediment at the top

There were several pediments found at Columbia University, but the ones that were photographed did not have sculptures in the tympanum like those of the Parthenon. The pediment in the photo to the right is located above the entrance to Earl Hall, a building in Columbia University's campus.

This is definitely a pediment because it's located above a horizontal surface, the metopes. Also, it's a triangular gable, which is, in actuality, the exact definition for a pediment.

Pediments of the ParthenonEdit

Pathenonsculptures

The west pediment of the Parthenon[4]

The Parthenon is a large monument atop the acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the polis's patron God, Athena.[5]

Compared to the pediments seen on buildings of Columbia University and New York City, the pediments of the Parthenon were more ornate and representative of the buildings they were found on. The photograph to the right is of the west pediment of the Parthenon, depicting the rivalry between Poseidon and Athena for domination of Athens.[6] Obviously, the pediments of the Parthenon were more decorative, and they represented Athena's glory, which was the purpose of the Parthenon itself.

In Ancient Greece, pediments may have been used not just for structural support and decoration, but to show the viewers of the building what the building was for, like how the pediments of the Parthenon glorified Athena. In Columbia University and New York City, the pediments are not as adorned and elaborate, probably because the urban buildings have nothing divine to represent.


CitationsEdit

  1. "Cleveland Trust Pediment," JPG, http://www.glts.org/articles/millet/ctc/
  2. Gloria Fiero, The Humanistic Tradition(New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 125.
  3. "Tympanums," Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed November 14, 2011, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/611555/tympanum
  4. "The West Pediment of the Parthenon: Athena," JPG, http://www.decodingtheheavens.com/blog/post/2009/06/15/The-Parthenon-in-colour.aspx
  5. Gloria Fiero, The Humanistic Tradition(New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 123.
  6. "The Parthenon in Color," Decoding the Heavens, accessed November 16, 2011, http://www.decodingtheheavens.com/blog/post/2009/06/15/The-Parthenon-in-colour.aspx

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