A triptych is a three-piece stand-alone panel that was a common altarpiece in the Baroque period created with some specific common techniques. They varied in size and particular shape, but most had a roughly rectangular base and square or arched tops. The two side panels were almost always smaller than the center panel. They were made like this so that they could be easily folded up and transported with the priest when he went to preach in the country. As we learned in class, during this time in history, it was the church that preserved all of the arts and literature. As a result, they were the ones who usually commissioned the art and allowed the art to be seen. In technical elements, the painting is done with tempera on wood panels, which was a common way of working. Tempera is an egg-yolk-based paint that dries quickly and hardens into a very tough surface that made it ideal for traveling by bumpy wagons. Many of the triptychs on display in museums are made with this medium for this reason. To get the colors to work just right, Baroque painters would use a green earth pigment called Terre Verde for the under-painting and red sizing behind the gold leaf of the background (class notes). Gold leaf was always used in images of a religious nature because it symbolized the importance and nobility and purity of the figures. If you look closely, these attributes of green under-painting, red sizing and heavy use of gold leaf in the background are evident in this triptych as well as many other similar works. such as Cimabue's Madonna Enthroned and Giotto's Madonna Enthroned that we saw in class. Another common feature of Baroque art is the focus on brushwork. According to my class notes, the brushwork used during this period was very meticulous. Every little line was carefully positioned to create a sense that the image just appeared on the panel. This makes a lot of sense, actually, considering they were working with gold leaf. Gold is very reflective and the smallest crease would cause reflections in one direction or another. By taking a perfectionist approach to the work, the artist could create the illusion of halos or other features within the gold leaf that would only appear when the light came from just the right angle. This would have added to the magic of the image for the benefit of the less-educated public. The general subject matter of Vanni's triptych is also very similar to the artwork of other Baroque artists working in this time period. In this painting as well as in Cimabue's painting and Giotto's painting, the Madonna is
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The essay "Renaissance Madonna and Child Triptych" explores the triptych of Lippo Vanni. There was no way for him to know because the curiosity into the sciences and the knowledge of the ancients that finally broke the restrictions of the church was only brought forward by the fear…
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