Triptych. Centre: Scenes from the Lives of the Thebaid Saints. Wings: Scenes from the Passion of Christ
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Triptych. Centre: Scenes from the Lives of the Thebaid Saints. Wings: Scenes from the Passion of Christ about 1290 - 1300

On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

The unusual combination of images in this triptych and its particular form are unique in Italian art. The central panel depicts at the bottom, the funeral of the fourth-century theologian and writer St. Ephraim, whose soul is shown at the top, transported to heaven by angels. The rocky terrain, with its wild animals and varied foliage, represents the desert around Thebes in Egypt, populated by hermits, many of whom were saints. The panel may be based on a Byzantine prototype. Christ and the angels above and the scenes from Christ's Passion in the wings are characteristic of thirteenth-century Italian painting.

Glossary Open

Byzantine art

Artistic style that developed in the eastern Mediterranean under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and spread beyond its boundaries to other parts of the Christian world. It moved away from classical naturalistic figures to flat frontal figures and is best seen in mosaics and icons.

Triptych

An artwork consisting of three components. It may refer specifically to a work with wings that fold over the central image; this is a common form for altarpieces.

Byzantine art, Triptych

Details

  • Acc. No. NGL 022.79
  • Medium Tempera on panel
  • Size Panel, overall dimensions with wings open: 118.50 x 124.50 x 7.60 cm; central panel: 112.00 x 62.00; left wing: 87.40 x 30.90 cm; right wing: 87.80 x 31.00 cm; closed: 118.80 x 65.70 x 7.60 cm
  • Credit Long loan in 1979