The Greek Column

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The Greek Column

A French champagne cognac with a Centaur trademark, called Remy Martin, is featured in several magazine advertisements resting on a column in various positions. The one being analyzed in this article shows the bottle of Remy Martin and a pair of glasses placed on top of a column so tall that it reaches above the clouds. It invites the viewer: "Want to come up for a drink sometime?" At the bottom right corner, the Centaur logo is repeated, along with a short description of its origin and a complimentary video offer. Found in the October issue of Vanity Fair, it targets adult women readers who, perhaps, want a fashion enlightenment.

Both the column and the slab on top of it appear to be made out of concrete, covered with plaster, whitewashed, and then it was given a chipping effect. Its purpose is to support the bottle of Remy Martin and the glasses for someone who can reach high enough for a drink. The use of the column in ancient architectures, however, do not include exhibiting a beverage.

From the remarkable Roman Pantheon, dated from the second century B.C., to the Chartres Cathedral in France, which began construction in the mid-twelfth century A.D., the column is widely used according to different tastes and architectural purposes. It is a Greek creation emerged from the Archaic period between 6oo-480 B.C., during which the two elevation designs from Greek temples, called the Ionic and Doric orders, came into form. The Corinthian order is the third classical Greek architectural order originally used in interiors, which began to appear around 450 B.C. The Greeks used columns in architectures including the Parthenon, the Tholos and the mausoleums, sometimes in pairs and sometimes in colonnades. All three orders, occasionally with various different modifications, were adapted by other civilizations such as the Romans and the Etruscans. They were erected in temples, Cathedrals, Forums, on city streets or even in residents as a supporting device for arches, entablatures, ceilings or roofs. They are also incorporated in reliefs for tombs and cathedrals and expressed in Roman wall paintings. For example, the bedroom walls in the House of Publius Fannius in Boscoreale were decorated with images of columns in fantastic Roman cityscapes. (Stokstad, p.162-213, 223-283, 553-556.)

The column used in the Remy Martin advertisement does not clearly belong to any classical Greek order or its later variants. However, it resembles a down-sized column of the Doric Order because of its recognizable Doric-like capital, though its components are only representative.

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