Word of the Day: triptych

Annunciation Triptych

Word of the Day: triptych

Annunciation Triptych
Source: www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/56.70

Triptych (noun) TRIP-tik


1 : an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together

2 a : a picture (such as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side

b : something composed or presented in three parts or sections; especially : trilogy


The panels of the triptych illustrated the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

“‘Certain Women,’ her latest film and arguably the most precise expression of [Kelly] Reichardt’s vision to date, is a triptych based on three short stories by the Montana-raised author Maile Meloy.” — Alice Gregory, The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2016

Did You Know?

A painted or carved triptych typically has three hinged panels, and the two outer panels can be folded in towards the central one. A literary or musical triptych generally consists of three closely related or contrasting themes or parts. Triptych derives from the Greek triptychos (“having three folds”), formed by combining tri– (“three”) and ptychē (“fold” or “layer”). Although triptych originally described a specific type of Roman writing tablet that had three hinged sections, it is not surprising that the idea was generalized first to a type of painting, and then to anything composed of three parts.

My Take

I grew up with a fine art print of the feature photo in this post hanging in my living room. Until now, I never knew that there was an actual name for this kind of artwork. My father worked for an art gallery in New York City, as a master framer and master repair technician.

Triptych Photo
Source: landscapephotographyshop.com

Working for the gallery, over the years, he acquired numerous pieces which were distributed around my family after my parents passing. The gallery focused their business on selling and repairing 18th and 19th-century prints. My father’s role in the gallery was to frame their acquisitions, most times using gold leafed frames that today would cost thousands of dollars. He was also the lead person who would repair prints and original works when a customer would bring in a damaged item, perhaps with a slice in the canvas or water damage and the like. He was never a creative person, but as a technician, he was without compare. I miss him.

As an artist, I have thought to create a triptych to add to my gallery of works. Years ago, I made an attempt in an abstract style. I never liked it and painted over it with a new composition. However, I still have a new idea and one day; I will get to it.

I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Don’t you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.

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