One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A painting, typically an altarpiece, consisting of more than three leaves or panels joined by hinges or folds.
- ‘Some consist of a single panel; others are diptychs or polyptychs in which the panels abut or hang a few inches apart.’
- ‘Earlier images of this type took the form of polyptychs, composed of a central panel that featured the Virgin and Child with separate, framed panels attached on either side that bore images of saints.’
- ‘But Crivelli's work, limited to Madonnas and elaborate gilded polyptychs, rather than the less remunerative work in fresco, reveals little sense of stylistic development.’
- ‘Masaccio himself painted a small version of Peter's crucifixion for the predella of the Pisa polyptych, where squat pyramids, hardly taller than the figures, take up considerable space at both edges of the panel.’
- ‘Surviving panels by him include parts of a Passion polyptych, recalling his frescoes in S. Francesco, Assisi.’
Mid 19th century: from late Latin polyptycha (neuter plural) ‘registers’, from Greek poluptukhos ‘having many folds’, from polu- ‘many’ + ptukhē ‘fold’.
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