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illustration Triptych



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, mid-18th century


A picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece.


A set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.

Examples of Triptych in a sentence

"The middle panel of the triptych was lost at least 50 years ago."

"If you listen to the first piece of the triptych, you have to listen to all three."

About Triptych

Before there was the triptych, there was the diptych. In Late Greek, "diptukha" referred to a pair of writing tablets. This description was applied to painted hinged wooden panels, used as an altarpiece. When the style expanded to have a third panel, it became a triptych.

Did you Know?

Lemony Snicket describes a triptych perfectly: "If you have walked into a museum recently — whether you did so to attend an art exhibition or to escape from the police — you may have noticed a type of painting known as a triptych. A triptych has three panels, with something different painted on each of the panels. For instance, my friend Professor Reed made a triptych for me, and he painted fire on one panel, a typewriter on another, and the face of a beautiful, intelligent woman on the third. The triptych is entitled 'What Happened to Beatrice' and I cannot look upon it without weeping."

illustration Triptych

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