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What is a triptych

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triptych painting
The Garden of Earthly Delights is a famous triptych painting
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Answering what is a triptych is simple: it means three-panel or three-fold

Art history 101: What is a triptych? Triptych, which rhymes with cryptic, means three-fold. It is a piece of work that consists of three carved or painted panels that are hinged, or hung, together.

Tri means three. The piece of art is divided into three panels or sections and all three pieces are intended to be displayed together.

Triptych art is also referred to as three-panel art. It produces a dramatic effect when three piece wall art is hung.

Artists create triptych either by creating a piece of art and then splitting it up into sections so that the final piece of art work flows from one panel to the next. The second technique is to create an image after which some element or the color is altered in each succeeding panel. The three pieces are displayed together.The piece of art doesn't have to be a painting. It can be a musical or literary work where three pieces are associated and are supposed to be appreciated together.

A example of a famous painting done on wood in the triptych style is "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by  Hieronymus Bosch. It has been housed in Madrid’s Museo del Prado since 1939.

This triptych is painted on oak using oils and consists of a square middle panel that is flanked by two rectangular wings. The side panels close over the center piece as if they were shutters. When the two outer panels or wings are folded close, there is a painting of the earth during the moment of creation according to biblical myth. The three scenes when open seem to require reading from left to right. The first depicts God coming before Eve and Adam; the second panel shows sexually engaged individuals as well as hybrid stone formations, bizarre animals and huge fruit. The third panel portrays hells.

Another famous triptych is Peter Paul Rubens’ “Raising of the Cross." The three panels tell one story. Usually a different story is told in each of the three panels of a triptych.

A triptych called “Triptych, 1976,” painted by Francis Bacon, was sold for $86 million at Sotheby’s in 1976, which set a new record for post World War II art.

If this particular type of art strikes your fancy, it can be available and affordable. Keep in mind that some companies do not rely on replications or duplications of existing images when creating triptychs on canvas. They design and produce their own images, after which the images are applied to three pieces of canvas.You are getting a piece of work that no one else has.

Triptychs can be created in contemporary styles, abstract, impressionism or whatever art form that you prefer and which best complements the interior of your home and your personality.

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