Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ............... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary



The head or crowning feature of a column or pilaster

Body Language

The Greeks were first to declare that architecture was based on the proportions and form of the human body. "Capital," for example, comes from the word "caput," or head.

In addition, dimensions were measured in terms of a human unit like the foot (piede in Italian).

Dentil molding is the exact shape  of a toothy dental smile on a jack-o'-lantern.

And need we explain the folds of a groin vault?

- The Annotated Arch, by Carol Strickland. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Pub., 2001,  p. 32

Many features that we associate with ancient columns are artistic interpretations of earlier plant and wooden structural elements. See  Frank E. Wallis, Greek Architecture and American Buildings,1910 book excerpt.

Cushion, block, or cubic capital: A very simple cube-like capital with bottom corners tapered. The block capital is particularly characteristic of Ottonian and Romanesque Germany and England.

Found in classical Greek and Roman architecture and derivatives, including Beaux Arts Classicism, Classical Revival, Federal, Georgian Revival, Greek Revival, Neoclassicism, Renaissance Revival, Second Empire


The column and capital have been used as decoration and for functional supports on many styles of furniture.

Examples from Buffalo architecture:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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