Our five-pronged approach focuses on your individual strengths to develop your unique qualities towards making you an exemplary pi- designer.
The art and architecture being created and re-invented around us are embedded in the intricacies of various socio-cultural and historical contexts. We understand Classical Art, or Classicism, to refer to a body of artwork and creative endeavors that draw inspiration, in terms of methodology and subject matter, from the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Classical Greco-Roman era was and continues to be noted for its rich culture, literature, art and architecture. Referred to as the Golden Age, this period in history was fundamental to the development of key ideas and concepts that form the foundation of our understanding of aesthetics and art today.
Classicism, which saw a revival during the Renaissance, was defined by a sense of order, harmony and balance. The emphasis placed on composition and proportion was reflected in the way objects and subjects were portrayed in a neutral manner. They appeared expressionless, as though deep in contemplation. The aim here was to capture the ideal of form- both human and animal form.
Throughout the centuries, whenever architects have been faced with creative blocks and dead-ends, they have turned to Classical art and its multifarious elements for inspiration. This is conspicuous in several contemporary designs and stylistic features which have arisen from reinterpreting earlier conceptions and seamlessly incorporating them into present-day architectural structures. designs. These are a few examples of when artists and architects have taken a trip down the lanes of history and Classical culture.
There have been several influences of Hellenism, referring to the spread in popularity of Greek culture beginning after the conquest of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, on Indian architecture. However, prior to this, a style of art known as Indo-Greek art flourished in the Indian subcontinent.
The Heliodorus pillar is known to have been erected by Indo-Greek ambassador Heliodorus in approximately 115 BCE. Situated in present-day Bais in Madhya Pradesh, the stone carved stone pillar contains inscriptions related to Vaishnavism.
The Greek influence on Indian sculpture is particularly evident in the Gandhara School of Buddhist Art. The Greeks were known for their anthropomorphic representation of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, wherein they attributed typical human emotions and traits to non-living entities.
A characteristic feature of the Gandhara school of art was their sculpting of folds which appear almost transparent, hugging the sculpture the way cloth drapes around a real body.
The Buddhist tradition retained its core, and adopted Greek features in their iconography. The introduction of architectural forms such as Corinthian columns and the cupid was supplemented by mythological figures and ideas. Heracles, the Greek god of strength, was mirrored in Vajrapani, meaning ‘holder of the vajra or thunderbolt’, the companion of Buddha.
3. Kushana Frieze
Here, we see details from a Kushana frieze depicting the Buddha and Vajrapani by his side. Currently housed in the British Museum, we see Vajrapani in a more classic Grecian style. Pointing to his cross-cultural roots, in one hand he is shown carrying the vajra, understood to be Zeus’ lightning bolt or Hercules’ club, while in the other he holds a chamara, the fly-whisk symbolizing the Buddha’s sovereignty.
Though Hellenistic art and architecture differed from Classical Greek art, certain key Classical elements of proportionality and symmetry, as depicted below, were still evident and celebrated. Grecian impacts on Indian art and architecture were evident, beginning in the Mauryan age.
4. The Pataliputra Capital
This is the Pataliputra capital, dating back to the 3rd century BCE in the Palace of Pataliputra, Bihar under the rule of the Mauryans. It bears striking similarity to the Greek anta capitals typical of Hellenistic architecture. An anta refers to the front edged portion of a supporting wall, usually crowned by a stone slab.
5. The Kandahar Edict of Ashoka
The Kandahar Edict of Ashoka is often referred to as the Kandahar (in Afghanistan) bilingual rock inscription. Dating back to the 2nd century BCE, the rock was carved by Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great and contains Greek and Aramaic inscriptions.
6. The Hoysala Temple
Traveling a few centuries down the road of history, we see the Hoysala Temple situated in Belavadi, Karnataka. Built in the 13th century under the Hoysala Empire, the temple houses three shrines- kakuta, dvikuta and trikuta. In such temples which included multiple shrines and places of worship, symmetry was of utmost importance. Carved with geometric patterns and intricate designs of circles and squares, the ceiling panels flank the balanced portions of the temple.
7. The Red Fort
The Red Fort in New Delhi is built as an irregular octagonal structure. The fort initially housed the royal family post its construction in 1648 and the Mughal architectural elements are enhanced by a focus on refined balance. Reflective of the ornateness of the Mughal style, certain smaller structures within the Fort such as the Rang Mahal are known for their detailed engravings and arabesques.
8. The Oxford Center for Islamic Studies
Founded in 1985, the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies was designed by Egyptian architect Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil and it masterfully combines iconic features of Islamic architecture with the traditional structure of Oxford buildings and designs. It therefore represents the heritage of both Oxford University and Islamc heritage that the Center seeks to promote advanced study in.
The architectural elements of the building harmoniously portraying Islamic craftsmanship in a Classical western classical context serves as a statement of how Greek and Roman forms and rules can be used to create progressive pieces of art and architecture
9. Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas
This well-renowned Center for the Performing Arts embodies Classical elements of uniformity and precise mathematical proportion. The clean-looking interior design is supplemented by energy efficient fittings and advanced acoustic engineering that reflect Las Vegas' history and a sustainable future.
10. The U.S. Capitol Building
The U.S. Capitol building, defined by its stark symmetry and array of columns, is reminiscent of the emphasis placed on columnar structures (Ionic, Corinthian and Doric) , or the post-and-beam system, of the Classical times.
The way several structures around us resemble the stylistic features and ideas of Classical art, the world of design too, in a similar vein, centers around ideas of unity and order. The concepts of balance, aesthetic unity, the harmonious unison of elements, colors, structures and various other facets are key to creating any design. The individual parts contribute to our perception of the seamless whole. In appreciating the way these individual aspects have been constructed and designed, we can aim towards better understanding the larger nature of the structures around us. Our built environment is constantly evolving and adapting to keep up with changing times and the requirements of a new generation of citizens. However, it is also equally important to be able to gauge the traces of the past in these structures in order to fully understand their function and utility in present times as well as their potential usage for a new future.
The focus on individuality in the Classical era led to the creation of personalized artworks, sculptures and architectural designs that celebrated the truth of life and humanity. Similarly, the creative landscape today seeks to promote inclusivity and diversity. The way Classical art was usually openly accessible, adorning temples or public buildings, today the art of designing is made easy, efficient and innovative by institutions that seek to break the mold by offering a diverse and unique combination of electives and areas of study. As we better understand our built environment and the various influences that have shaped it into what we are familiar with today, we can move towards designing for a new tomorrow.
Did you know that we spend about 90% of our time indoors! We use the built environment, especially interior spaces,…
We live in a hyperlinked, hyper-connected world! Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Youtube, Google, have become verbs that represent “things we…
The moment one hears the word fashion, one immediately visualises, beautiful clothes, bags, accessories, interesting prints, embroidery and colours, glamour,…
In the first of our series of interactions with you, the aspiring Communication Design student, I think it is important…
The digital age has allowed photography to boom like never before. It’s a massive, commercial industry which is growing explosively…