Monday, June 6, 2011

4th History & Architecture of Oxford Tour

This time we took a look at the Age of Classicism in Oxford, visiting Christopher Wren's Sheldonian Theater, Queen's College, and the Bodleian Library.

This is the inside of the the Sheldonian Theater. It's the main ceremonial hall for the University of Oxford. The design is loosely based on a Roman amphitheater or coliseum. Note the Roman columns.

A Roman theater would not have a roof. Since some buildings needed a roof, the style was to put something on the ceiling that looked like the sky. Think about the Sistine Chapel. Here is a sort of Christianized scene of the heavens, but it doesn't look so different from the way Romans depicted the gods chilling up on Olympus.

The background of this blog is the best shot I got from the top of the theater. Here's another view, where you can see the Bridge of Sighs.

The front of the Sheldonian Theater. It's basically a version of a Roman temple. Circular arches, Corinthian columns, pilasters and moulding, triangular pediments, perfect symmetry.

This is the front of the Bodleian Library. You can see the side of the Sheldonian Theater on the right, with the turquoise dome. Again, it looks like a Roman temple. Big Doric columns supporting a triangular pediment, statues on the top. The theater looks more fancy and refined because of the use of the Corinthian order. This uses the Doric, which makes it look strong, powerful, and important.

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