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Pediments are gables, usually of a triangular shape. Pediments are placed above the horizontal structure of the lintel, or entablature, if supported by columns. Pediments can contain an overdoor and are usually topped by hood moulds. A pediment is sometimes the top element of a portico. For symmetric designs, it provides a center point and is often used to add grandness to entrances.
The tympanum, the triangular area within the pediment, is often decorated with a pedimental sculpture which may be freestanding or a relief sculpture. The tympanum may hold an inscription, or in modern times, a clock face.
Pediments are found in ancient Greek architecture as early as 600 BC (e.g. the archaic Temple of Artemis). Variations of the pediment occur in later architectural styles such as Classical, Neoclassical and Baroque. Gable roofs were common in ancient Greek temples with a low pitch (angle of 12.5° to 16°).
The pediment is found in classical Greek temples, Etruscan, Roman, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical and Beaux-Arts architecture. A prominent example is the Parthenon, where it contains a tympanum decorated with figures in relief sculpture. This architectural element was developed in the architecture of ancient Greece and first appeared as gable ends of Greek temples. In ancient Rome, the Renaissance, and later architectural revivals, the pediment was used as a non-structural element over windows, doors and aediculae. Some used to protect windows and openings from weather.
As classical architecture moved to Britain during the Renaissance, pediments wouldn't fit with the steeply pitched roofs and became detached from the structure to only create an impression. The form of the pediment is dictated by the primary function of the roof which in several areas is the dismissal of rainwater.
A variant is the "segmental" or "arch" pediment, where the normal angular slopes of the cornice are replaced by one in the form of a segment of a circle, in the manner of a depressed arch. Both traditional and segmental pediments have "broken" and "open" forms. In the broken pediment the raking cornice is left open at the apex. The open pediment is open along the base – often " sculpture, "tondo" paintings, mirrors or windows. These forms were adopted in Mannerist architecture, and applied to furniture designed by Thomas Chippendale. The terms "open pediment" and "broken pediment" are often used interchangeably. Another variant is the swan's neck pediment and is a refinement of a broken pediment with two "S"-shaped profiles resembling a swan's neck. Non-triangular variations of pediments are usually found over doors, windows, and porches.
One of the few sections of the sculpture of the Ancient Greek pediment of the Parthenon still in place; others are the Elgin marbles in the British Museum, London
Illustrations with the sculptures of the two pediments of the Parthenon, by James Stuart and Nicholas Revett in 1794
Ancient Roman segmental pediment of the Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey
Romanesque pediment of the Abbaye Saint-Jouin de Marnes, Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes, Deux-Sèvres, France
Gothic pediment of the Orvieto Cathedral, Orvieto, Italy
Renaissance highly decorated pediment of the Hôtel Desplats ou de Palaminy, Toulouse, France
Baroque pediment of the Pavillon Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, part of the Palais du Louvre, Paris
Rococo pediment of the Erbdrostenhof, Münster, Germany
Louis XVI pediment of the Théâtre de la reine, part of the Petit Trianon, France
Neoclassical facade and pediment of the Museu do Ipiranga, São Paulo, Brazil
Beaux-Arts pediment with sculptures on the facade of the Palais Garnier, Paris
Romanian Revival door pediment of the Școala Centrală National College, Bucharest, Romania
Russian Revival pediment with mosaic of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia
Pediment of the Mihai Zisman House (Calea Călărașilor no. 44), Bucharest, by architect Soru, 1920
Art Deco pediment of the Carrefour Curie (1-3 Quai de Conti), Paris, by Joseph Marrast and Charles Letrosne, 1932
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- ^ "Museu do Ipiranga: o que vimos de surpreendente na reabertura?". CASACOR (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2022-09-23. Retrieved 2022-09-20.
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- Dictionary of Ornament by Philippa Lewis & Gillian Darley (1986) NY: Pantheon
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 37. .