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Based off *Art History* The Differences Between The Hadrians Pantheon and Justinians Hagia Sophia - Essay Example

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The building that stands today was built by Hadrian when he was emperor in around 126 AD. It is the greatest example in the world of the mathematical structure described…
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Based off *Art History* The Differences Between The Hadrians Pantheon and Justinians Hagia Sophia
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The Differences Between the Hadrian’s Pantheon and Justinian’s Hagia Sophia. The Pantheon in Rome rests on the site of earlier buildings erected by Marcus Agrippa and others before that. The building that stands today was built by Hadrian when he was emperor in around 126 AD. It is the greatest example in the world of the mathematical structure described by Archimedes of a sphere inscribed inside a cylinder: Archimedes had an image of this inscribed upon his tomb in two dimensions but the Pantheon has is a full three dimensional version, where people can enter the sphere and walk around, looking at the structure from the inside (Martinez, 2000, p. 1). The dimensions of the domed part of the building are 142 feet in diameter and 142 feet in height and it has an ocula, a circular hole, in the roof which lets in light. (Kleiner, 2010, p. 188). Because of the movement of the sun, the patch of bright light that comes through the ocula moves around the walls, creating a striking visual effect. The front of the building has rows of Corinthian columns, and there was originally a columned courtyard leading up to the entrance.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is likewise a huge domed structure, and it was build some four hundred years by the emperor Justinian I later in the middle of the sixth century AD. There were technical difficulties in its construction, resulting in restoration when the dome collapsed, and the diameter of the final dome measures about 33 meters. One of the problems is the design of the dome on a square base, rather than the cylindrical base of Hadrian’s Pantheon. The inexact figure of the diameter is due to some design faults in the original dome construction which have caused the building to become deformed due to the pressures involved (Bartoli, 2001, p. 6).
Both of these impressive buildings incorporated innovative construction techniques and ambitious designs. The main differences in the two buildings are in their purpose and in the quality of their construction. The Pantheon is a Roman civic building, dedicated to all the gods, as its name suggests, but with heavy symbolism of classical Greek mathematics and close connection to the emperor’s administrative function. It served as a meeting space and locus for special events of all kinds. Its perfect dimensions represent the earth, and its concrete dome represents the heavens, making it an excellent representation of the earthly power of the emperor. Justinian’s building, on the other hand, is a specifically religious space, designed to hold objects that were venerated by Christians, including icons and artifacts which people travelled far to visit (Franko, 2007). The patriarchs of the Orthodox Church resided within the building and it was used to cement the link between the Christian emperor and the Church through formal ceremonies. Although it is from a later period, the Hagia Sophia shows inferior grasp of the architectural principles of materials use and construction. Despite elaborate mosaic decoration, and the use of expensive materials sourced from all across Justinian’s eastern empire, it lacks the structural solidity of Hadrian’s Greek-inspired monument.
(522 words)
References
Bartoli, Gianni. “Hagia Sophia in Istanbul : Some remarks on displacement phenomena in main piers.” Memoria presentata al workship Haga Sophia, 2001. Retrieved from: Web.
Franko, Elyse. “The Hagia Sophia.” World and I. 22 (9) (2007). Retrieved from: Web.
Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Vol I. Boston, MA; Cengage Learning, 2010.
Martinez, Giangiacomo. “The Relationship Between Architecture and Mathematics in the Pantheon.” Nexus Network Journal. Paper presented at the Nexus 2000 conference on architecture and mathematics, 4-7 June, Ferrara, Italy. Retrieved from: Web. Read More
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