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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Opened view of the Ghent Altarpiece: Jan van Eyck (1432).  There is a different view when the wings are closed.
Opened view of the Ghent Altarpiece: Jan van Eyck (1432). There is a different view when the wings are closed.

A polyptych (/ˈpɒlɪptɪk/ POL-ip-tik; Greek: poly- "many" and ptychē "fold") is a painting (usually panel 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 (or septych in Latin) seven; octaptych eight parts; enneaptych nine; and decaptych has ten parts.

Historically, polyptychs typically displayed one "central" or "main" panel that was usually the largest of the attachments; the other panels are called "side" panels, or "wings". Sometimes, as evident in the Ghent and Isenheim works (see below), the hinged panels can be varied in arrangement to show different "views" or "openings" in the piece.

Polyptychs were most commonly created by early Renaissance painters, the majority of whom designed their works to be altarpieces in churches and cathedrals. The polyptych form of art was also quite popular among ukiyo-e printmakers of Edo period Japan.

Some medieval manuscripts are polyptychs, particularly Carolingian works, in which the columns on the page are framed with borders that resemble polyptych paintings.

Examples

See also

This page was last edited on 25 October 2019, at 11:35
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