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What the Heck is a Diptych?

You may have come across the term ‘diptych’ recently.  It’s certainly nothing new. But what is it? The dictionary describes diptych as the following:

Diptych: noun | dip·tych |ˈdip-(ˌ)tik

  1. a 2-leaved hinged tablet folding together to protect writing on its waxed surfaces
  2. a picture or series of pictures (such as an altarpiece) painted or carved on two hinged tablets
  3. a work made up of two matching parts

Essentially, it’s any image, or series of images, spread out over two panels that can be installed together to form a larger series or image.  Diptychs aren’t new, and have been around as long as art has been displayed.

What about more than two images?  A three panel piece is called a triptych; four, a quadriptych; five, a pentaptych; and six, a hexaptych.  We could keep going but for simplicity’s sake, anything with more than two panels can be referred to as a polyptych, or multi-panel print.  

Diptychs and triptychs are by far the most common configurations available, but certainly aren’t the limit.  Polyptychs have been used throughout history by many great artists. Religious groups have been among the most notable historical users, favouring their ability to effectively tell a story, especially for alter pieces.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, polyptychs read as chapters.

Although multiple panels can be a great way to tell a story, today, diptychs and triptychs are often favoured for their visual appeal and aesthetic.  Multi panel prints, especially canvas, have made their way into millions of homes, serving as unique wall decor, and conversation pieces. Sure, many painters still prefer to paint across multiple canvases, but the art form has taken to the photography industry quite well.  Individuals are now using polyptychs to their full potential, printing vacation photos to digital illustrations.

Not only the number of panels can be configured, more often than not, people are choosing to have various panel sizes across the installation.  A common configuration would be shorter outer panels and a taller inner panel, forming a cascading appearance.

Although solid black or white edges are common, often the edges of the panels are instead mirror images of the corresponding adjacent edges.  This allows for the panels to form a continuous and full image when viewed from any angle.

Regardless of the image you want to use, or the number of panels, we promise a beautiful print ready photo, perfect for any decor.

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