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Dilapidated Churches in Czech Republic

Ellipse vs oval Edit

I've made extensive use of this wiki for research on a book on Baroque churches in Rome with nary a quibble except for the use of the term ellipse. Baroque architects used ovals which were much easier to lay out and there was an extensive discussion of oval forms in one of the standard architectural manuals of the day (Serlio). This is certainly the case for San Andrea in Quirinale for example: Julia Smyth-Pinney made detailed measurements of the interior in the 90's (I believe, I don't have her paper in front of me) detailing the deviations from the then standard practice in drawing ovals.

The confusion arises because ovals have three scalable parameters and with the rightchoice of variables can closely approximate ellipses. It doesn't help that the terms were used more or less interchangeably at the time and may still be today. But there is no question that the Baroque architects were using ovals. See also the interesting on-line paper by Santiago Huerta: Oval Domes, History, Geometry and Mechanics.

76.66.109.181 13:58, May 20, 2018 (UTC)


Thanks very much for this.You are very welcome to replace the term "ellipse" with "oval" in the Wiki whenever you find it appropriate, and in fact that would be a positive assistance to the Wiki. I haven't tried yet to find a "serch and replace all" facility in the admin dashboard, and if there is one that might be the answer.

The problem with "oval", at least in Brit English, is its ambiguity. I take it that your use of the term refers to a closed curve constructed from two pairs of arcs with different radii, which has two perpendicular axes of symmetry. However, it can also mean a closed curve resembling the cross-section of a chicken egg, with one axis of symmetry (the orginal meaning -Latin ovum for egg), and it can also mean "ellipse or any closed curve approximating to one", which is the definition that I learned at school.

Basilwatkinsosb (talk) 16:03, May 20, 2018 (UTC)