Definition of predella in US English:



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

    • ‘Four substantial panels (two of doubtful origin) and the predella, or figured plinth, remain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 A painting or sculpture on the front of a raised shelf above an altar, which typically forms the base for an altarpiece.
      as modifier ‘four predella panels by Botticelli’
      • ‘The entire piece is supported by a predella on the altar, which raises the retable from the altar table.’


Mid 18th century: from Italian, literally ‘stool’.