Altarpiece


Altarpiece

An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two, three, and multiple panels respectively. Groups of statuary can also be placed on the altar. Sometimes the altarpiece is set on the altar itself.

If the altar stands free in the choir, both sides of the altar-piece can be covered with painting. The screen, retable or reredos are also commonly decorated.

Famous examples are
*the Byzantine Pala d'Oro in the Basilica di San Marco, Venice
*the Ghent Altarpiece (1432) by Hubert and Jan van Eyck
*the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald
*the Altar of Veit Stoss

External links

* [http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/a/altarpiece.html ArtLex: altarpiece or altar-piece]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Altarpiece — • A picture of some sacred subject painted on the wall or suspended in a frame behind the altar, or a group of statuary on the altar Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Altarpiece     Altarpiece …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Altarpiece — Al tar*piece , n. The painting or piece of sculpture above and behind the altar; reredos. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • altarpiece — ► NOUN ▪ a painting or other work of art set above and behind an altar …   English terms dictionary

  • altarpiece — [ôl′tərpēs΄] n. an ornamental carving, painting, etc. above and behind an altar …   English World dictionary

  • altarpiece — /awl teuhr pees /, n. a painted or carved screen behind or above the altar or communion table in Christian churches; reredos. [1635 45; ALTAR + PIECE] * * * Painting, relief, sculpture, screen, or decorated wall standing on or behind an altar in… …   Universalium

  • Altarpiece —    A painted or sculpted panel that either stands on the altar of a church or hangs above it, its primary function being to serve as visual focus during meditation or prayer. Altarpieces created in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries often… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • altarpiece — [[t]ɔ͟ːltə(r)piːs[/t]] altarpieces N COUNT An altarpiece is a work of art behind the altar in a church …   English dictionary

  • altarpiece — noun Date: 1644 a work of art that decorates the space above and behind an altar …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • altarpiece — noun a work of art suspended above and behind an altar in a church …   Wiktionary

  • altarpiece — Synonyms and related words: Communion table, abstract, abstraction, altar, altar carpet, altar desk, altar facing, altar of prothesis, altar rail, altar side, altar slab, altar stair, altar stone, ancona, block print, bomos, chancel table,… …   Moby Thesaurus