Detail of entablature now in the Capitoline Museums.
The best-preserved section of entablature from the Temple of Vespasian is preserved in the substructures of the Tabularium, now part of the Capitoline Museums. This section was pieced together in the early nineteenth century from numerous fragments which were combined with plaster casts to complete the reconstruction. Most of the right side of the entablature in this image is later reconstruction built around the original fragments but the left end is mainly original. This is interesting for what it tells us about how the carving of this complex form was planned out. To the right, the finished form of the entablature is visible: at the bottom, the architrave with its three fasciae; above that the frieze, decorated with various religious motifs, including bucrania and various sacrificial implements; and at the top the cornice. On the left, rather than the finished form of the entablature, a roughed-out version of it is preserved which sits several centimeters proud of the finished surface. This section of the entablature, which would originally have been hidden from view, built into the back wall of the temple, reveals the roughed-out form in which the whole of the entablature was originally carved before any detailed work was undertaken. At the centre of this roughed-out section on the right a thin strip has been carved which provides a more accurate and smooth, but still unfinished, section of the architrave. This narrow strip gives the basic proportions and layout of the architrave without its decorative detailing and was presumably intended to act as a guide for the carvers tasked with carving the more detailed form of the entablature. This second stage of shaping the profile of the entablature was presumably followed by a final stage of detailed decorative carving during which the various mouldings were completed and the details of the frieze. This section of entablature, therefore, preserves three distinct working phases (roughing-out, shaping, decorative finishing) and provides an insight into how this work was planned out and the guidelines set out to assist the carvers during these processes. The first two phases of work must have been completed before the block was put in place since the guide strip would have been hidden from view once it was inserted into the building.