Ancient architecture proved early on to be of surprising significance to pop pioneer Roy Lichtenstein. He frequently revisited the prehistoric moments of Western civilisation, studying and selecting instantly recognisable artistic forms and architectural structures. The artist later appropriated his chosen elements, reproducing and emptying them of their original meaning.
Undermining illusionism by the means of abstraction, Lichtenstein’s temple renditions demonstrate his mastery of decoding cultural images and signs. Akin to Temple Of Apolloof the same year, Temple of 1964 is a delicate lithograph. The illustration embraces a holistic view of a Doric style chapel. For this work, Lichtenstein drew inspiration from the formal magnificence and historical endurance of Greek temples. Constructed of local limestone, these buildings were situated on top of rocky hills to which devotees would make pilgrimages. These imposing sanctuaries were important emblems for ancient cities, symbolising growth and prosperity.
Temple’s ruins are constituted by three cracked stone pillars. Bold black, white and grey contours on dense Ben Day dot patterning define the elegant composition. The print zeroes in on the most important visual aspects of the landscape and the architectural structure. This work was created in preparation for Lichtenstein’s eleven-part detail-study of 1976 titled Entablatures.