Father Pitt

West End Bridge

Posted in Bridges, Manchester by Dr. Boli on July 30, 2014

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The graceful arch of the West End Bridge, as seen from the union Dale Cemetery. Below, with Manchester in the foreground.

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“Sacrifice,” by Allen George Newman, in Brighton Heights

Posted in Brighton Heights, Sculpture by Dr. Boli on July 27, 2014

A splendid allegorical World War I memorial. Our all-American hero casts off the robes of comfort and offers his sword to whoever needs defending (in Pittsburgh, old Pa Pitt supposes, it is more proper to say “whoever needs defended”). Allen George Newman had a considerable reputation in his day, and this memorial must have cost the neighborhood a good bit of money. Note that the dates of the war are given as 1917-1919; although we commonly take the Armistice in 1918 as the end of the war, it was not technically over until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.

The pictures in this article have been donated to Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, so no permission is needed to use them for any purpose whatsoever.

 

Fawns in the Allegheny Cemetery

Posted in Cemeteries, Nature by Dr. Boli on July 25, 2014

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Wandering through the Allegheny Cemetery this morning, old Pa Pitt happened upon a doe with her three fawns. The deer were wary at first, but Father Pitt persuaded them that he was no threat, and then they happily posed for these pictures.

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The Classical Orders

Posted in Architecture by Dr. Boli on July 23, 2014

Since old Pa Pitt often talks about classical architecture as it is imitated and adapted in our buildings, he shamelessly borrows his own article on the classical orders from his own Pittsburgh Cemeteries site.

Every schoolchild learns that there are three orders of classical architecture—Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—and that they can easily be distinguished by the capitals of their columns. And every schoolchild promptly forgets that information. So here it is again.

The Doric order is the simplest of the three, easily recognized by the square capitals.

The Ionic order has distinctive “volutes,” which most ordinary observers would call “curlicues.”

The Corinthian is the most complex of the three, with capitals carved in the shape of a basket of acanthus leaves. The easiest way for the ordinary observer to recognize it is by knowing that it is not Doric and not Ionic, and that the capitals look complex and fiddly.

Corinthian columns also have small volutes, as we see above. When the volutes become more prominent, so that the column looks half-Corinthian and half-Ionic, as we see below, the order is called Composite—a term that came into use during the Renaissance for columns that the Romans would have called Corinthian with big volutes.

The Romans added one more order, which they considered even simpler than the Doric: the Tuscan order, whose columns have simple round capitals rather than the square capitals of the Doric. The Tuscan order is seldom used in our cemeteries.

There’s more than the columns to each order of architecture: there are rules about proportions, and there are rules about mixing the orders in a building with more than one level. (Doric on the bottom, Ionic above Doric, and Corinthian above Ionic.) The architects of mausoleums may or may not follow all the rules. But the capitals are easy to distinguish, so when we say “a Doric mausoleum,” we usually mean one with Doric capitals, whether it follows all the other rules or not.

Sunset from Schenley Park

Posted in Downtown, Nature by Dr. Boli on July 14, 2014

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Storm clouds passing over the city gave us rain and these beautiful views.

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