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Source Image: PR202_02_23 of Entablature (Museum) of Temple of Vespasian

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Description

Detail of entablature now in the Capitoline Museums.

Monument
Temple of Vespasian 
Monument Part
Entablature (Museum) 
Monument Type
Architecture 
Material(s)
Luna Marble (Archaeometric identification)  
Date
ad 79 - circa ad 87 
Keywords
GuidelineFoliageMouldingEntablature  
Collections
Temple of Vespasian, Rome  

Location

Original Location
Rome 
Current Location
Capitoline Museums 

Evidence for working practices

1. Toolmarks

Process
Squaring
Tool
Saw
Description
The flat surface at the top of the roughed-out section of the entablature has been sawn. This suggests that the whole block was originally sawn on its front face and perhaps other faces too. This could well have been the condition in which the block arrived at the building site.

2. Toolmarks

Process
Squaring
Tool
Point
Method
Angle: Shallow (40-50°)
Force: Hard
Description
The rough series of parallel lines to the right of the sawn surface are the traces of point chiselling to remove substantial quantities of stone. The chisel is being held here at about 45° to the stone. This portion of work lines up with the frieze and it seems likely that the whole frieze was roughed-out using the point chisel before detailed decorative work was undertaken.

3. Toolmarks

Process
Roughing-out
Tool
Point
Method
Angle: Vertical (90°)
Force: Medium
Description
The pocked surface at the bottom of the roughed-out section of the entablature, where the rough form of the architrave has been defined, is also worked with the point chisel. This time the chisel was held much closer to the vertical.

4. Guideline

Process
Laying-out
Description
The narrow strip cut into the roughed-out section is effectively a guideline from which the carvers of the block could acquire their measurements.

Notes

The best-preserved section of entablature from the Temple of Vespasian is preserved in the substructures of the Tabularium, now part of the Capitoline Museums. This section was pieced together in the early nineteenth century from numerous fragments which were combined with plaster casts to complete the reconstruction. Most of the right side of the entablature in this image is later reconstruction built around the original fragments but the left end is mainly original. This is interesting for what it tells us about how the carving of this complex form was planned out. To the right, the finished form of the entablature is visible: at the bottom, the architrave with its three fasciae; above that the frieze, decorated with various religious motifs, including bucrania and various sacrificial implements; and at the top the cornice. On the left, rather than the finished form of the entablature, a roughed-out version of it is preserved which sits several centimeters proud of the finished surface. This section of the entablature, which would originally have been hidden from view, built into the back wall of the temple, reveals the roughed-out form in which the whole of the entablature was originally carved before any detailed work was undertaken. At the centre of this roughed-out section on the right a thin strip has been carved which provides a more accurate and smooth, but still unfinished, section of the architrave. This narrow strip gives the basic proportions and layout of the architrave without its decorative detailing and was presumably intended to act as a guide for the carvers tasked with carving the more detailed form of the entablature. This second stage of shaping the profile of the entablature was presumably followed by a final stage of detailed decorative carving during which the various mouldings were completed and the details of the frieze. This section of entablature, therefore, preserves three distinct working phases (roughing-out, shaping, decorative finishing) and provides an insight into how this work was planned out and the guidelines set out to assist the carvers during these processes. The first two phases of work must have been completed before the block was put in place since the guide strip would have been hidden from view once it was inserted into the building.

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