An entablature (pronEng|ɛnˈtæblətʃɚ; Latin, "and tabula", "a tablet") refers to the superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture, and are commonly divided into the architrave—the supporting member carried from column to column, pier or wall immediately above; the frieze—an unmolded strip that may or may not be ornamented; and the cornice, the projecting member below the pediment.

The structure of the entablature varies with the three classical orders: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. In each, the proportions of the subdivisions (architrave, frieze, cornice) are defined by the proportions of the column in the order. In Roman and Renaissance interpretations, it is usually around a fourth of the height of the column. Variants of entablature that do not fit these models are usually derived from them.

Pure classical Doric entablature is simple. The architrave, the lowest band, is split, from bottom to top, into the "guttae", the "regulae", and the "taenia".

The frieze is dominated by the triglyphs, vertically channelled tablets, separated by "metopes", which may or may not be decorated. The triglyphs sit on top of the "taenia", a flat, thin, horizontal protrusion, and are finished at the bottom by decoration (often ornate) of "drops", called "guttae", which belong to the top of the architrave. The top of the triglyphs meet the protrusion of the cornice from the entablature. The underside of this protrusion is decorated with "mutules", tablets that are typically finished with "guttae".

The cornice is split into the "soffit", the "corona", and the "cymatium". The "soffit" is simply exposed underside. The "corona" and the "cymatium" are the principal parts of the cornice.

The Ionic order of entablature adds the "fascia" in the architrave, which are flat horizontal protrusions, and the "dentils" under the cornice, which are tooth-like rectangular block moldings.

The Corinthian order adds a far more ornate frieze, divided, from bottom to top, into the "cyma reversa", the dentils, the "ovulo", the "modillions", the fascia, and the "cyma recta". The "modillions" are ornate brackets, similar in use to "dentils", but often in the shape of acanthus leaves.

The frieze is sometimes omitted - for example, on the portico of the caryatides of the Erechtheum - and probably did not exist as a structure in the temple of Diana at Ephesus. Neither is it found in the Lycian tombs, which are reproductions in the rock of timber structures based on early lonian work. The entablature is essentially an evolution of the primitive lintel, which spans two posts, supporting the ends of the roof rafters.

The entablature together with the system of classical columns is rarely found outside of classical architecture. It is often used to complete the upper portion of a wall where columns are not present, and in the case of pilasters (flattened columns or projecting from a wall) or detached or engaged columns it is sometimes profiled round them. The use of the entablature irrespective of columns appeared after the Renaissance.



ee also

* Classical order
* Classical architecture
* Subdivisions of the entablature:
** Architrave
** Frieze
** Cornice

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  • Entablature — • A superstructure which lies horizontally upon the columns in classic architecture Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Entablature     Entablature      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Entablature — En*tab la*ture (?; 135), n. [OF. entablature: cf. It intavolatura, fr. LL. intabulare to construct a basis; L. in + tabulatum board work, flooring, fr. tabula. See {Table}.] (Arch.) The superstructure which lies horizontally upon the columns. See …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • entablature — 1610s, nativization of It. intavolatura; see EN (Cf. en ) (1) + TABLATURE (Cf. tablature) …   Etymology dictionary

  • entablature — [en tab′lə chər] n. [MFr < It intavolatura < intavolare < in , in + tavola, table, base < L tabula: see TABLE] Archit. 1. a horizontal superstructure supported by columns and composed of architrave, frieze, and cornice 2. any… …   English World dictionary

  • entablature — /en tab leuh cheuhr, choor /, n. Archit. the entire construction of a classical temple or the like between the columns and the eaves, usually composed of an architrave, a frieze, and a cornice. See diag. under column. [1605 15; < MF < It… …   Universalium

  • ENTABLATURE —    a term in classic architecture applied to the ornamented portion of a building which rests in horizontal position upon supporting columns; is subdivided into three parts, the lower portion being called the architrave, the middle portion the… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • entablature — noun Etymology: obsolete French, modification of Italian intavolatura, from intavolare to put on a board or table, from in (from Latin) + tavola board, table, from Latin tabula Date: 1611 a horizontal part in classical architecture that rests on… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • entablature — noun All that part of a classical temple above the capitals of the columns; includes the architrave, frieze, and cornice but not the roof …   Wiktionary

  • entablature — see TABLE …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • entablature — n. wall that rests on top of columns (Architecture); platform of a pedestal that supports a statue …   English contemporary dictionary

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