An altarpiece is a painting placed on or behind the altar of a Christian church as a focus for worship

Altarpieces usually depict scenes from the life of Christ, especially the Crucifixion, or from the life of the Virgin Mary. They are often in two or three panels (diptychs and triptychs) with the panels showing separate but related scenes.

Modern artists have sometimes adopted these formats for non-religious works, either for the increased narrative scope they offer or to add a sense of spiritual weight to subjects dealing with the major issues of human life, or both.

See also


Stanley Spencer - Virtual Church-House

Stanley Spencer's virtual church-house Duration: 7 min 19 sec TAV 2293D

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida: Visions of the Garden of Eden: Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst & Sarah Lucas

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida: Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst & Sarah Lucas: Visions of the Garden of Eden: past Tate Britain exhibition

Work of the Week: Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion by Francis Bacon

This week we’re celebrating the day Francis Bacon was born, 28th October 1909.