A triptych (pron.: // TRIP-tik; (from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχοs ("three-fold"), from tri-= "three" + ptysso= "to fold") is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels which 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.
In art 
The triptych form arises from 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 English Celtic churches in the west. Renaissance painters and sculptors such as Hans Memling and Hieronymus Bosch used the form. 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. One can also see the form 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.
In photography 
A photographic triptych is a common style used in modern commercial artwork. The photographs 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.
- The Annunciation and Two Saints - Simone Martini
- The Merode Altarpiece - Robert Campin
- The Garden of Earthly Delights and The Haywain Triptych - Hieronymus Bosch
- The Portinari Altarpiece - Hugo Van Der Goes
- The Raising of the Cross - Peter Paul Rubens
- Departure - Max Beckmann
- Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion - Francis Bacon
- The pioneer (painting) - Frederick McCubbin
- Compton Triptych sculpture
See also 
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|Look up triptych in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|