What does altarpiece mean?

Definitions for altarpiece
ˈɔl tərˌpisal·tar·piece

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word altarpiece.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. altarpiece, reredosnoun

    a painted or carved screen placed above and behind an altar or communion table


  1. altarpiecenoun

    a work of art suspended above and behind an altar in a church


  1. Altarpiece

    An altarpiece is an artwork such as a painting, sculpture or relief representing a religious subject made for placing at the back of or behind the altar of a Christian church. Though most commonly used for a single work of art such as a painting or sculpture, or a set of them, the word can also be used of the whole ensemble behind an altar, otherwise known as a reredos, including what is often an elaborate frame for the central image or images. Altarpieces were one of the most important products of Christian art especially from the late Middle Ages to the era of the Counter-Reformation.Many altarpieces have been removed from their church settings, and often from their elaborate sculpted frameworks, and are displayed as more simply framed paintings in museums and elsewhere.


  1. altarpiece

    An altarpiece is a work of art, typically a painting, sculpture, or relief, that is placed on, behind, or above the altar in a Christian church. Its imagery is usually religious in nature, intended to enhance and complement the liturgical themes of the church's seasons. Altarpieces are often the focal point of religious worship within the church.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Altarpiecenoun

    the painting or piece of sculpture above and behind the altar; reredos


  1. Altarpiece

    An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two, three, and multiple panels respectively. In the thirteenth century each panel was usually surmounted with a pinnacle, but in the Renaissance, single panel, or pala, altarpieces became the norm. In both cases the supporting plinth, or predella often featured supplementary and related paintings. In the eighteenth century altarpieces, such as Piero della Francesca's polyptych of St Augustine, were often disassembled and seen as independent artworks. If the altar stands free in the choir, both sides of the altarpiece can be covered with painting. The screen, retable or reredos are commonly decorated. Groups of statuary can also be placed on an altar. Sometimes the altarpiece is set on the altar itself and sometimes in front. Originally, the altarpiece was placed in front of the altar, with the priest standing behind it facing the congregation. In the 13th century, the altarpiece moved behind the altar, with the sacrament placed in front of it and the priest standing with his back to the congregation. This placement to behind the altar allowed the altarpiece to expand to larger proportions, as during the Renaissance.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of altarpiece in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of altarpiece in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

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"altarpiece." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/altarpiece>.

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    a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
    A descant
    B abrade
    C caddie
    D flub

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