Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Evolution of the Triptych .

I could put this post in my Design Always Repeats Itself but I think that would be misrepresentation because the triptych never disappeared from the history of art and design.

Here is the Merode Altarpiece.

Probably the most famous altarpiece aside from the Ghent Altarpiece. This triptych was created in approximately  1425 by Robert Campin and an assistant. What makes this altarpiece so important is its use of symbolism and its misuse of perspective which illustrates the struggle to understand perspective before the Renaissance.

Last semester I did a paper on this altarpiece:

This is Altarchen by Gerhard Marcks and Alfred Partikel. Made while teachers at the German Bauhaus Marcks and Partikel decided to take a traditional subject and style and transform it by using modern techniques. 

Within both triptychs there is a lot of important symbolism but what I love most about Altarchen is its ability to take something as stagnant as the religious triptych, turn it on its head and make it relevant again. I mean, that's tough. I can't imagine taking something old and making it exciting again while maintaining its original integrity.

Gerhard Marcks went on to live on a long life and created the doors for a church in Germany which I can't locate today but they are amazing. As soon as I find them I'll post an image. 

Partikel had a tragic life and in 1945, in the midst of WWII, disappeared while mushrooming in Ahrenshoop. 


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