Decorative elements inside the Temple of Mars Ultor
As one moves away from the white marble of the outside of the temple and beyond the pronaos (the space in front of the inner sanctuary), one is greeted by the colours of the strips of polychrome marble paving. Continuing on into the cella, which is accessed by a large doorway, the magnificence of the various coloured marbles and the detail of the decorative elements is immediately apparent.
The double orders around the walls of the relatively high continuous podium, comprise free standing columns placed in front of lesene's, the shafts of both of which are in (white) Pavonazzetto marble - as seen in the pieces from the top of a column of the superior order, all topped with extremely elegant Corinthian capitals carved from statue-grade Luna marble.
Details of the decoration on the capitals and the pilaster bases are known thanks to the existence of examples that are almost complete. The upper rank of leaves has been further embellished with carvings of winged horses (Pegasus) that emerge from elegant twists of Acanthus stems whilst the lower rank features only Acanthus leaves in typical Corinthian style. Other pieces displayed in the museum provide proof that other similar column capitals did exist along with others in which the top of the column was also decorated. There is a plaster cast on display that illustrates how the corresponding base of one of these columns was decorated.