Greek Revival architecture  

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"Athens is peerless among the existing monuments of the ancient civilised world. The ruins of Rome may be more gorgeous ; of Babylon, more mysterious ; of Persepolis, more romantic ; of the Egyptian Thebes, more vast; but in all that is interesting to thought and feeling - in memories and associations, deep, affecting, sublime, Athens transcends them all." --The Antiquities of Athens

"The only way for us to become great lies in the imitation of the Greeks" --Johann Joachim Winckelmann

The Acropolis of Athens (1846) by Leo von Klenze
The Acropolis of Athens (1846) by Leo von Klenze

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The Greek Revival was an architectural movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, predominantly in northern Europe and the United States. A product of Hellenism, it may be looked upon as the last phase in the development of Neoclassical architecture. The term was first used by Charles Robert Cockerell in a lecture he gave as Professor of Architecture to the Royal Academy in 1842.

The term is indicative of how highly self-conscious practitioners of the style were, and that they realized they had created a new mode of architecture. With a newfound access to Greece, archaeologist-architects of the period studied the Doric and Ionic movement, examples of which can be found in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Finland (where the assembly of Greek buildings in Helsinki city centre is particularly notable). Yet in each country it touched, the style was looked on as the expression of local nationalism and civic virtue, especially in Germany and the United States where the idiom was regarded as being free from ecclesiastical and aristocratic associations.

The taste for all things Greek in furniture and interior design was at its peak by the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the designs of Thomas Hope had influenced a number of decorative styles known variously as Neoclassical, Empire, Russian Empire, and Regency. Greek Revival architecture took a different course in a number of countries, lasting up till the Civil War in America (1860s) and even later in Scotland. The style was also exported to Greece under the first two (German and Danish) kings of the newly independent nation.



Primary sources

Architectural Pattern Books

  • Asher Benjamin, The American Builder's Companion, 1806
  • Asher Benjamin, The Builder's Guide, 1839
  • Asher Benjamin, The Practical House Carpenter, 1830
  • Owen Biddle, The Young Carpenter's Assistant, 1805
  • William Brown, The Carpenter's Assistant, 1848
  • Minard Lafever, The Young Builder's General Instructor, 1829
  • Minard Lafever, The Beauties of Modern Architecture, 1833
  • Thomas U. Walter, Two Hundred Designs for Cottages and Villas, 1846.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Greek Revival architecture" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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