Definition of predella in English:



  • 1A step or platform on which an altar is placed.

    • ‘The raised central platform or predella has the ambo at one end and the altar at the other.’
    • ‘The gangrene often compelled amputation, and it has been noted in this connection that the two movable halves of the predella [base] of the altarpiece, if slid apart, make it appear as if the legs of Christ have been amputated.’
    • ‘Four substantial panels (two of doubtful origin) and the predella, or figured plinth, remain.’
    • ‘Placed against the church's altar below the triptych with its fixed panels of the baptism, Lord's supper, and confession, the predella participates in the change from altar to table and shared meal of minister and people.’
  • 2A raised shelf above an altar.

    • ‘The entire piece is supported by a predella on the altar, which raises the retable from the altar table.’
    ledge, bracket, sill, rack
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A painting or sculpture on this, typically forming an appendage to an altarpiece.
      • ‘In the last four scenes of the predella, the artist painted rolling hills, superfluous to the narrative, that resemble Urbino's landscape vistas.’
      • ‘The blasphemous and redemptive qualities represented in the predella are underscored by Uccello's rendering of the host desecration story as a nocturnal scene.’
      • ‘Continuing into the Renaissance there are two Botticellis, Bandinelli's Self-Portrait, Pollaiuolo's Woman in Profile, and two Raphaels - a portrait and a small predella panel.’
      • ‘The Evangelists from the Munnerstadt predella are among the most impressive and appealing works in the exhibition.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Paolo Uccello completed the altarpiece's predella, the Miracle of the Profaned Host, most likely by 1468.’
      • ‘The proposal was that Donatello's Ascension, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, was the intended altarpiece or its predella.’
      • ‘The predella reliefs depict narratives from the legends of Saints Francis, Bonaventure, Louis of Toulouse and Anthony of Padua.’
      • ‘The predella, nevertheless, clarifies the fate of the non-Christian who crosses the line and threatens the religious and civic community of Urbino.’
      • ‘Recognised today are predella panels attributed to Giovanni dal Ponte from the high altar; these may have been fitted below an earlier work, now lost, that showed a large image of Peter with other figures.’
      • ‘Yet, being multipartite, they call to mind the predella panels of early Renaissance altarpieces.’
      • ‘Here, as throughout the predella, Masaccio picks up the reds and slate blues from The Crucifixion.’
      • ‘The nocturnal vignettes of Uccello's predella incorporate both aspects of night.’
      • ‘In Botticelli's predella panel, Martha is not actually present at this moment.’
      • ‘The total painted surface of all the panels is over fifty feet in width, plus the predella which is two feet high by eleven feet wide.’
      • ‘His predella serves only as a cautionary tale for those Jews capable of such sacrilege.’
      • ‘Soliloquy I and Soliloquy V each consist of a single large C-type print with a panoramic border along the lower edge that functions as a separately framed predella, reflecting on or vivifying the main image.’
      • ‘In After Due Consideration, crisp lettering spells ‘very dry every winter’ upon more ambiguous gestural calligraphy, suggesting a denotative predella positioned below a tightly woven grid of red, gray and ocher.’


Mid 19th century: from Italian, literally ‘stool’.