A Caryatid is an architectural element that is popular in any style

the Caryatid – the name of the architectural columns, which took the form of a female figure. The most famous example can be found on the South porch Erechtheum the Acropolis of Athens.

Ancient history

In the Hellenistic culture of “Caryatid” – the virgin of Caria, famous for the temple of the Peloponnese. Hazel was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. As Caryatids, she was happy, dancing among the nut trees in the city of Caria. At this time, Virgo in an ecstatic dance carried on their heads baskets with freshly cut reeds. They portrayed the dance of plants.
Roman architect Vitruvius thought that the Caryatid – a slave. Vitruvius saw how they are used as columns in the ionic architecture. But the Caryatid-an evolved Persian column. The Persians, however, were used to support buildings animals.


the Six most famous caryatids support the roof about the South porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens. This building was built Pericles presumably between 421-406 BC to embed the ancient wooden religious sculpture of Athena. He also served as a center of veneration of Erechtheus (a mythical king of Athens) and his brothers, including Poseidon.

these caryatids clothing has a wet look and sticks to bodies. The position of the legs and thighs are bold and dynamic. Three of them are, and rested the body on the right leg, and the other-on the left. Hairstyle is also important. They are heavy and bulky, designed to strengthen the most unreliable place – neck shapes, which drops a big load. Hands sculptures, unfortunately, was lost. The surviving Roman copies, you can see that the right hand held small vessels for the libations, and the left supported and gently lifted their clothes. It is assumed that they were carved by different sculptors in a workshop Alcanena, disciple of Phidias. Interestingly, this porch is over the mythical tomb of king king had been buried. The construction of the caryatids may have been a tribute to his memory. Now standing on the porch of their copies. Five of the original caryatids are in the museums of the Acropolis, where they can be viewed from all sides, and the sixth – in the British Museum in London. Summing up the history, we can say that the Caryatid – in architecture, a decorative element of the column, which can also have a carrier function.

the Renaissance and after

At this time they began to be used in the interiors in the construction of fireplaces. In the Baroque period they appear in Scotland as a carved decoration over the fireplace in the great hall of the castle, Michels.

In the late German Baroque caryatids are in the castle Sanssouci of Frederick the Great in Close. The statue clad women also began to be used as legs for tables, shelves and candlesticks.

Style Empire not paid attention to this decorative element. The artist's imagination continued to occupy the thought of the beautiful woman who bears the vault of the sky.
In 1881, Auguste Rodin sculpted out of stone had fallen under the weight of the figure caryatids. He only saw heavy for girls to carry, which is still trying to get up.

Men's double caryatids

it has two names: Telamon and Atlas. The first name, rather the name meant “support” or “support”. It was the mythical son of Aeacus and the Aeneid. He was the king of Salamis. The strong man sat at the oars, when the Argonauts went after the fleece, he participated in Kalimanski hunting wild boar, which was giving no rest to the whole district, which was won by Theseus.
Atlanta also – the mighty Titan, who holds on his shoulders the vault of heaven. Feasible if such a burden to him? No matter how it was hard, courage and patience to let him hold her. In Greek mythology, he is turned to stone or rock.

Twin sculptures

Atlanta and caryatids adorn the facades of buildings, balconies support, fulfilling an aesthetic function. Especially good Atlanta supporting the portico of the New Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Initially, the architect L. Klenze, it was to support the caryatids. But this project was rejected, and eight years later, in 1848, A. I. Terebenev created ten sculptures of Atlantes of dark granite quarried in the field on the Ladoga lake.

They stand on the pedestal of the Karelian coarse-grained granite. Work on the sculpture went on for two years. The sculptor of the primary processing of stone practiced in about one hundred and fifty masons. The finished work aroused General admiration. Atlanta and caryatids characteristic of classicism. The common difference is that Atlanta supports the entablature hands, and the caryatids are on his head. Define "entablature".

Architecture: elements of buildings

the French word ‘the entablature” means the ceiling made of beams. It consists of architrave, frieze and cornice. In architecture, the architrave has two values:
  • crossbar, which is placed between the columns or window openings, it is at the top;
  • the same bar, which laid on capitals of columns, decorated with various orders, i.e. canonical patterns.

Modern use of the caryatids

the Greeks were inspired by when creating the caryatids girls from Kariya. Dressed in clothes, their sculptural images supported the building. The tradition continues.

But often, standing at the level of his century architecture instead of marble or stone used concrete, fiberglass. In the inner rooms used wood or plaster.
On this day and the Atlanteans and caryatids in demand in modern architecture. Eclectic, modern, neo-Renaissance - they are possible everywhere. Frame style they do not constrain. The thought of the artist that uses them, not closes and draws inspiration from the tradition of running through the Millennium.