I've been working on new triptychs and decided to study more about the history of the form and why it seems to resonate with viewers as a way of conveying emotion or even enhancing work that might not be as striking when presented in a continuous or uninterrupted format (thinking photography here). I think the presentation of panels is certainly a trend when it comes to modern interior design, but it is fascinating to see that the history stemmed from a solution to the issue of transporting works of art. I also have to wonder if the religious underpinnings of the form still resonate with people, even if they are not concious of why. -N
"The triptych form arises from early Christian art, and was a popular standard format for altar paintings from the Middle Ages onwards. Its geographical range was from the eastern Byzantine churches to the Celtic churches in the west. Renaissance painters and sculptors such as Hans Memling and Hieronymus Bosch used the form. Triptych forms also allow ease of transport.
From the Gothic period onward, both in Europe and elsewhere, altarpieces in churches and cathedrals were often in triptych form. One such cathedral with an altarpiece triptych is Llandaff Cathedral. The Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium, contains two examples by Rubens, and Notre Dame de Paris is another example of the use of triptych in architecture. One can also see the form echoed by the structure of many ecclesiastical stained glass windows. Although strongly identified as an altarpiece form, triptychs outside that context have been created, some of the best-known examples being works by Hieronymus Bosch, Max Beckmann, and Francis Bacon.
Modern photographic triptych: A photographic triptych is a common style used in modern commercial artwork. The photographs are usually arranged with a plain border between them. The work may consist of separate images that are variants on a theme, or may be one larger image split into three." Source: Wikipedia