Triptychs ... a history in three parts

The triptych arises from early Christian art, originally used as a way of communicating religious beliefs in the form of a portable series of images in a popular standard format.  This was alter mounted, but could be easily folded together, packed up and moved from church to church.

The triptych's geographical range was from the Celtic churches in the west of Europe, to the Byzantine churches to the East.

As well as Renaissance painters such as Hans Memling and Hieronymus Bosch, who used the form to depict religious imagery with painting, sculptors have also created triptychs by relief carving on three panels.

history of triptychs