Next Previous Back to All Terms

A triptych is a series of three paintings intended to be displayed together. Derived from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχον ("three-fold"), from tri, i.e. "three" and ptysso, i.e. "to fold" or ptyx, such artworks may either be divided into three sections or consist of three carved panels that are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. Triptychs were originally used as an altar-piece in churches. Traditionally two of the panels were attached to the central one by hinges and folded over it, to show two different paintings on the back. In contemporary times, it may take the form of panel paintings, digital art or photography divided into three, distinct sections. Another application of the triptych involves its use as a decor element in interior design spaces. Famous artists whose work features triptychs include Francis Bacon (22 January 1561- 9 April 1626), who painted more than 28 known triptychs between the period of 1944-1988, Max Beckmann (February 12, 1884 - December 28, 1950) and Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450 - 9 August 1516).

Francis Bacon, Second Version of Triptych 1944, 1988, acrylic and oil paints, 62 x 46 cm.