What is a Triptych?

Is a painting or artwork formed as a tripartite. A triptych is composed of a substantial centre with two adjoining smaller wings. The two wings can be folded over the purpose of which is to protect the central panel and allow for easier storage. Once the two wings are shut, there is often another painting to be found on the outer face of the two wings. The purpose of many triptych paintings is to carry out a religious function, mainly for acts of devotion. Following on from its religious purpose, the central panel of a devotional triptych often depicts an image of the Madonna.

Here is an example:
The Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes
1475 approx. (Triptych)
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