Triptych

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The Merode Altarpiece, attributed to the workshop of Robert Campin, c. 1427-32 Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece) MET DP273206.jpg
The Merode Altarpiece , attributed to the workshop of Robert Campin, c. 1427–32
Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490-1510. Museo del Prado, Madrid El jardin de las Delicias, de El Bosco.jpg
Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights , 1490–1510. Museo del Prado, Madrid
The Aino Myth, the Kalevala based triptych painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1891. Ateneum, Helsinki Gallen Kallela The Aino Triptych.jpg
The Aino Myth , the Kalevala based triptych painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in 1891. Ateneum, Helsinki

A triptych ( /ˈtrɪptɪk/ TRIP-tik; from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχον "triptukhon" ("three-fold"), from tri, i.e., "three" and ptysso, i.e., "to fold" or ptyx, i.e., "fold") [1] [2] is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels that are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. It is therefore a type of polyptych, the term for all multi-panel works. The middle panel is typically the largest and it is flanked by two smaller related works, although there are triptychs of equal-sized panels. The form can also be used for pendant jewelry.

Contents

Beyond its association with art, the term is sometimes used more generally to connote anything with three parts, particularly if integrated into a single unit. [3]

In art

The triptych form appears in early Christian art, and was a popular standard format for altar paintings from the Middle Ages onwards. Its geographical range was from the eastern Byzantine churches to the Celtic churches in the west. During the Byzantine period, triptychs were often used for private devotional use, along with other relics such as icons. [4] Renaissance painters such as Hans Memling and Hieronymus Bosch used the form. Sculptors also used it. Triptych forms also allow ease of transport.

From the Gothic period onward, both in Europe and elsewhere, altarpieces in churches and cathedrals were often in triptych form. One such cathedral with an altarpiece triptych is Llandaff Cathedral. The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium, contains two examples by Rubens, and Notre Dame de Paris is another example of the use of triptych in architecture. The form is echoed by the structure of many ecclesiastical stained glass windows. Although strongly identified as an altarpiece form, triptychs outside that context have been created, some of the best-known examples being works by Hieronymus Bosch, Max Beckmann, and Francis Bacon.

The then highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction was $142.4 million for a 1969 triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud , by Francis Bacon in November 2012. [5] The record was broken in May 2015 by $179.4 million for Pablo Picasso's 1955 painting Les Femmes d’Alger . [6]

The format has migrated and been used in other religions, including Islam and Buddhism. For example: the triptych Hilje-j-Sherif displayed at the National Museum of Oriental Art, Rome, Italy, and a page of the Qur'an at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul, Turkey, exemplify Ottoman religious art adapting the motif. [7] Likewise, Tibetan Buddhists have used it in traditional altars. [8]

In photography

Modern photographic triptych Epilobium hirsutum - Seed head - Triptych.jpg
Modern photographic triptych

A photographic triptych is a common style used in modern commercial artwork. The photographs are usually arranged with a plain border between them. The work may consist of separate images that are variants on a theme, or may be one larger image split into three. [9] [10] [11]

Examples

See also

Related Research Articles

Hieronymus Bosch Dutch painter

Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch/Netherlandish painter from Brabant. He is one of the most notable representatives of the Early Netherlandish painting school. His work, generally oil on oak wood, mainly contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Within his lifetime his work was collected in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, and widely copied, especially his macabre and nightmarish depictions of hell.

Diptych Two-part polyptych

A diptych is any object with two flat plates which form a pair, often attached by hinge. For example, the standard notebook and school exercise book of the ancient world was a diptych consisting of a pair of such plates that contained a recessed space filled with wax. Writing was accomplished by scratching the wax surface with a stylus. When the notes were no longer needed, the wax could be slightly heated and then smoothed to allow reuse. Ordinary versions had wooden frames, but more luxurious diptychs were crafted with more expensive materials.

Altarpiece Artwork (painting, sculpture or relief) behind the altar

An altarpiece is an artwork such as a painting, sculpture or relief representing a religious subject made for placing at the back of or behind the altar of a Christian church. Though most commonly used for a single work of art such as a painting or sculpture, or a set of them, the word can also be used of the whole ensemble behind an altar, otherwise known as a reredos, including what is often an elaborate frame for the central image or images. Altarpieces were one of the most important products of Christian art especially from the late Middle Ages to the era of the Counter-Reformation.

Robert Campin Belgian painter

Robert Campin, now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle, was the first great master of Flemish and Early Netherlandish painting. Campin's identity and the attribution of the paintings in both the "Campin" and "Master of Flémalle" groupings have been a matter of controversy for decades. Campin was highly successful during his lifetime, and thus his activities are relatively well documented, but he did not sign or date his works, and none can be confidently connected with him.

Polyptych Painting divided into multiple panels

A polyptych is a painting which is divided into sections, or panels. Specifically, a "diptych" is a two-part work of art; a "triptych" is a three-part work; a tetraptych or quadriptych has four parts; pentaptych five; hexaptych six; heptaptych seven; octaptych eight parts; enneaptych nine; and decaptych has ten parts.

Early Netherlandish painting Work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance

Early Netherlandish painting, traditionally known as the Flemish Primitives, refers to the work of artists active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance period. It flourished especially in the cities of Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen, Leuven, Tournai and Brussels, all in present-day Belgium. The period begins approximately with Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck in the 1420s and lasts at least until the death of Gerard David in 1523, although many scholars extend it to the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1566 or 1568. Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but the early period is seen as an independent artistic evolution, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy, although beginning in the 1490s as increasing numbers of Netherlandish and other Northern painters traveled to Italy, Renaissance ideals and painting styles were incorporated into northern painting. As a result, Early Netherlandish painters are often categorised as belonging to both the Northern Renaissance and the Late or International Gothic.

<i>The Garden of Earthly Delights</i> Medieval triptych painting by Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights is the modern title given to a triptych oil painting on oak panel painted by the Early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch, between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was between 40 and 60 years old. It has been housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain since 1939.

<i>The Elevation of the Cross</i> (Rubens)

The Elevation of the Cross is the name of two paintings, a very large triptych in oil on panel and a much smaller oil on paper painting. Both pieces were painted by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp, Belgium, the original in 1610 and the latter in 1638.

<i>St. John the Evangelist on Patmos</i>

St. John on Patmos is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. The painting is currently in the Gemäldegalerie, in Berlin, Germany. The reverse is also painted, the title of that picture is Scenes from the Passion of Christ and the Pelican with Her Young.

<i>Adoration of the Magi</i> (Bosch, Madrid) Triptych by Hieronymus Bosch

The Adoration of the Magi or The Epiphany is a triptych oil painting on wood panel by the Netherlandish artist Hieronymus Bosch, executed around 1485–1500. It is housed in the Museo del Prado of Madrid, Spain.

The Last Judgment is part of the eschatology of the Abrahamic religions and in the Frashokereti of Zoroastrianism.

<i>Fiesole Altarpiece</i>

The Fiesole Altarpiece is a painting by the Italian early Renaissance master Fra Angelico, executed around 1424–1425. It is housed in the Convent of San Domenico, Fiesole, central Italy. The background was repainted by Lorenzo di Credi in 1501.

Mariotto di Nardo

Mariotto di Nardo di Cione was a Florentine painter in the Florentine Gothic style. He worked at the Duomo of Florence, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Orsanmichele. He created both frescoes and panel paintings, and was also active as a manuscript illuminator.

<i>Crucifixion Diptych</i> (van der Weyden)

Crucifixion Diptych — also known as Philadelphia Diptych, Calvary Diptych, Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and St. John, or The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning — is a diptych by the Early Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden, completed c. 1460, today in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The panels are noted for their technical skill, visceral impact and for possessing a physicality and directness unusual for Netherlandish art of the time. The Philadelphia Museum of Art describes work as the "greatest Old Master painting in the Museum."

<i>Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony</i>

The Triptych of Temptation of St. Anthony is an oil painting on wood panels by the Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch, dating from around 1501. The work tells the story of the mental and spiritual torments endured by Saint Anthony the Great, one of the most prominent of the Desert Fathers of Egypt in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. The Temptation of St. Anthony was a popular subject in Medieval and Renaissance art. In common with many of Bosch's works, the triptych contains much fantastic imagery. The painting hangs in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon.

Lotte Brand Philip German art historian

Lotte Brand Philip was a German art historian, professor and expert on Netherlandish art, one of the most notable and incisive experts on 14th- and 15th-century art to have studied under Erwin Panofsky. Born a Christian of Jewish descent, she resisted state intimidation to leave Germany, only moving to the United States in 1941. She began her new life as a jewelry designer, before establishing a career as an art historian and writer, and taking professorship at a number of universities, including New York University and Queens College, Flushing. During her long career, Brand wrote highly regarded books and monographs on artists such as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer and Hieronymus Bosch, and in 1980 became emeritus at Queens. Brand Philip died on May 2, 1986 in New York City.

<i>St John Altarpiece</i> (Memling)

The St John Altarpiece is a large oil-on-oak hinged-triptych altarpiece completed around 1479 by the Early Netherlandish master painter Hans Memling. It was commissioned in the mid-1470s in Bruges for the Old St. John's Hospital (Sint-Janshospitaal) during the building of a new apse. It is signed and dated 1479 on the original frame – its date of installation – and is today still at the hospital in the Memling museum.

Gothic boxwood miniature Early 16th-century wood carving of the Low Countries

Gothic boxwood miniatures are very small Christian wood sculptures produced during the 15th and 16th centuries in the Low Countries, at the end of the Gothic period and during the emerging Northern Renaissance. They consist of highly intricate layers of reliefs, often rendered to nearly microscopic level, and are made from boxwood, which has a fine grain and high density suitable for detailed micro-carving. There are around 150 surviving examples; most are spherical rosary beads, statuettes, skulls, or coffins; some 20 are in the form of polyptychs, including triptych and diptych altarpieces, tabernacles and monstrances. The polyptychs are typically 10–13 cm in height. Most of the beads are 10–15 cm in diameter and designed so they could be held in the palm of a hand, hung from necklaces or belts, or worn as fashionable accessories.

<i>Miniature altarpiece</i> (WB.232)

The miniature altarpiece in the British Museum, London, is a very small portable Gothic boxwood miniature sculpture completed in 1511 by the Northern Netherlands master sometimes identified as Adam Dircksz, and members of his workshop. At 25.1 cm (9.9 in) high, it is built from a series of architectural layers or registers, which culminate at an upper triptych, whose center panel contains a minutely detailed and intricate Crucifixion scene filled with multitudes of figures in relief. Its outer wings show Christ Carrying the Cross on the left, and the Resurrection on the right.

References

  1. "triptych". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. τρίπτυχον . Liddell, Henry George ; Scott, Robert ; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  3. "Triptych". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved January 28, 2017. Although triptych originally described a specific type of Roman writing tablet that had three hinged sections, it is not surprising that the idea was generalized first to a type of painting, and then to anything composed of three parts.
  4. 2014. History of the World in 1,000 Objects.London, New York. D.K. Publishing.
  5. Vogel, Carol (November 12, 2013). "Bacon's Study of Freud Sells for $142.4 Million". The New York Times . Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  6. A History Of Insane Art Prices Digg.com Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  7. Museum With No Frontiers (2007). Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. Brussels, Belgium, Beirut, Lebanon: Museum With No Frontiers, Arab Institute for Research and Publishing. p. 258. ISBN   9789953369570 . Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  8. Wise, Tad; Beers, Robert; Carter, David A. (August 25, 2004). Tibetan Buddhist Altars: A Pop-Up Gallery of Traditional Art and Wisdom (Hardcover). New World Library. ISBN   978-1577314677.
  9. Photo Answers Magazine Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine 9 April 2009, Michael Topham
  10. Digital Photography School: Diptychs & Triptychs – 5 Prime Examples Elizabeth Halford
  11. Kay, Nate (3 January 2017), Triptych Photography Examples and Ideas, The Photo Argus, retrieved 28 June 2017
  12. Marcin Latka. "Triptych with Legend of Saint Stanislaus from Pławno". artinpl. Retrieved 3 August 2019.