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Photo of the week: sparrows nesting in a pillar’s capital

A couple of sparrows had the pluck to make a nest into the most unlikely of places: the decorative spirals of a capital (ie. head of a column or pillar). You can see the male on the lookout (top right, with dark patch on the throat), while the female is busy tending to their brood.

The capital is in the Corinthian style (order if you prefer), which calls for elaborate sculpting, requiring skilled artisans, dexterous use of both chisel and drill and lots of man-hours. The result is highly textured and very decorative, particularly suited to the tastes of Hellenistic times, when the style really took off.

Another, unexpected result is that the nooks and crannies of the design would attract two tiny Athenians, looking for a place to raise a family.

This capital is on a pillar in Zappeion, a 19th-century building in the neoclassical tradition. Its original purpose was to house functions of the first Modern Olympics, held in Athens in 1896; it now serves as a conference and exhibitions centre.

sparrows in a capital of the Corinthian order

Note: I know I promised that the next post I wrote (ie. this one) would be about the mystery of the small holes on Parthenon’s eastern facade, but cross-referencing some new data took me longer than I imagined. The mystery will be solved, in due time.

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2 comments on “Photo of the week: sparrows nesting in a pillar’s capital

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