Auguste Choisy | Analysis of the Acropolis - “Histoire de l’Architecture” 1899.
The following views are described by Sergei Eisenstein
in his article “Montage and Architecture” that appeared
in Assemblage in 1989. Via 2
“The general idea of the plan of the Propylaeum can be seen in view 1 … We see the symmetrical central block and two noticeably different wings — the right-hand one broader and the left-hand one less so. … At first sight, nothing could be more uneven than this plan, but in fact it constitutes a completely balanced whole in which the general symmetry of the masses is accompanied by a subtle diversity in the details. … The optical symmetry is impeccable. Both wings of the Propylaeum balance out at the exact moment when the general view of the building opens out in front of us.”
“First view of the square; Athene Promakhos. Passing by the Propylaeum, the spectator’s eye embraces the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and Athene Promakhos (view 2). In the foreground towers the statue of Athene Promakhos; the Erechtheion and the Parthenon are in the background, so that the whole of this first panorama is subordinated to the statue, which is its central point and which creates an impression of unity. The Parthenon only acquires its significance when the visitor loses sight of this gigantic piece of sculpture.
“The parthenon and its oblique perspectives. To modern thinking, the Parthenon — the great temple of the Acropolis — should be placed opposite the main entrance, but the Greeks reasoned quite differently. The cliff of the Acropolis has an uneven surface, and the Greeks, without altering its natural relief, placed the main temple on the highest point at the edge of the cliff, facing the city. Placed thus, the Parthenon first of all faces the spectator obliquely.
The ancients generally preferred oblique views: they are more picturesque, whereas a frontal view of the facade is more majestic. Each of them is allotted a specific role. An oblique view is the general rule, while a view en face is a calculated exception.”
“After the first panorama from the Erechtheion, let us continue our way across the Acropolis. At point 3 the Parthenon is still the only structure in our field of vision, but if we move on to point 4, it will be so close to us that we shall be unable to encompass its shape; at that moment the Erechtheion becomes the center of the panorama. It is precisely from this point that it offers us one of its most graceful silhouettes .
The bare wall is enlivened by the Porch of the Caryatids, which stand out from it as though against a background specifically created for them.”
Le Corbusier captioned the image of the Acropolis with the following:
“A view which shows the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the statue of Athena in front of the Propylea. It should not be forgotten that the site of acropolis is very up and down, with considerable variations in level which have been used to furnish imposing bases or plinths to buildings. The whole thing, being out of square, provides richly varied vistas of a subtle kind; the different masses of the buildings, being asymmetrically arranged, create an intense rhythm. The whole composition is massive, elastic, living, terribly sharp, keen and dominating.”
‘Vers Une Architecture’ Via 1