How are Doric Columns Different from Corinthian Columns?


The differences between Doric and Corinthian columns are more recognizable compared to those of the Ionic columns.

Corinthian columns are the most complex among three columns, mainly because of the design of its capital. Although it still shares some similar attributes with the Doric and Ionic orders, the overall appearance of the Corinthian column is effortless to distinguish.

In this article, we will look into the differences between Doric and Corinthian columns. Since we already know the characteristics of Doric columns, we will now look into the attributes of Corinthian columns.

What is a Corinthian column?

Corinthian column

As mentioned earlier, Corinthian columns are the most complex among the three columns. It is the last Greek architectural order developed that originated from Corinth, a city-state in Greece.

The looks of this column have similarities with other Greek columns. Its shaft has twenty-four flutes surrounding it and could stand up to ten diameters high. The capital is the unique part of the column; wherein it displays acanthus leaves and scrolls. These leaves have some varieties through the years, including the arrangement of the leaves and some added adornments.

The elegant style of this column best suits high-class buildings, mansions, temples, etc., because of its rather challenging design. Especially during ancient times, construction workers or builders, need to sculpt the details of the Corinthian capital manually. Unlike what we have today, we have decent technology that we can use to improve the production of these specialized columns.

Comparing Doric and Corinthian columns

Doric and Ionic columns in buildings

The differences of both columns appear to be pretty obvious, especially the column’s capital.

The shaft of Corinthian columns is taller compared to Doric columns, which is why Doric columns have no base, unlike Corinthian columns. The Doric column has twenty flutes, while Corinthian columns have twenty-four flutes – similar to Ionic columns.

Now that we’ve checked the base and the shaft, let’s now look into the capital. Doric columns’ capital is the simplest among three Greek columns, while the Corinthian column’s capital is the most ornate. Doric capitals only have discs; however, Corinthian capitals have sculpted acanthus leaves and scrolls. This feature made it easier to distinguish the difference between Doric and Corinthian columns.

By the looks of it, Corinthian columns appear to be more elegant, compared to Doric columns, due to its well-sculpted capitals. Because of this, architects and designers rarely use Corinthian columns in ordinary houses or structures; Unlike Doric columns, which is present even in some small establishments.

Both column types are present in various structures that we know today. Whatever the building may appear, these columns always make sure to give that neoclassical style to it.

Notable buildings using Doric and Corinthian columns

The United States Capitol 

The US Capitol or the Capitol Building is a government building located in Washington DC that houses the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the US federal government. This building is well-known in the US, mainly because of its Greek-inspired structure. It has several halls and chambers, which include various Doric and Corinthian columns.

The United States Capitol 

One of the significant room inside the Capitol Building is the Crypt. It is a circular room with forty Doric columns supporting the upper floor, which is the US Capitol Rotunda. This room is also home for the Magna Carta Case, which holds one copy of Magna Carta.

Then we have the Halls of Columns, which is a hundred-foot long hallway filled with twenty-eight Corinthian columns standing in parallel sides. It serves as the gallery for eighteen statues of the National Sanctuary Hall Collection.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

This ancient temple was a colossal temple in Athens, Greece. The temple was a dedication to the Olympian god, Zeus.

The temple is an excellent example of a structure using Greek orders since its appearance is heavily influenced by Ancient Greek architecture. Its construction has a total of 104 Corinthian columns, which is one of the structures that have the most number of columns.

Today, the Temple of Zeus is an open museum in Athens. This ancient temple is heavily protected and supervised by the Ephorate of Antiquities.

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