predella

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predella

(prĕdĕl`lä), Italian term for a painted panel, usually small, belonging to a series of panels at the bottom of an altarpiece. The form was used mainly in Italy from the 13th to the 16th cent. Often added as a "footnote" to the main theme of an altarpiece, predella panels generally consist of narrative scenes, e.g., the Passion of Jesus or the lives of the saints. The artist had an opportunity to express himself with more inventiveness and vivacity in these episodes than in the main panel, where the image was conventionalized to a greater extent. Several beautiful panels from back of the Maestà by Duccio are in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C., which also has two scenes by Domenico Veneziano.

Bibliography

See study by R. Salvini and L. Traverso (tr. 1961).

predella

1. The bottom tier of an altar-piece, between the principal panel or bas-relief and the altar itself.
2. The broad platform on which the altar rests.
3. An altar ledge.
References in periodicals archive ?
Only a few elements from the predella, pinnacles and pilasters are still unaccounted for, and perhaps even some of those will turn up one day.
DY: What is the function of the predella paintings--the smaller oils done from direct observation--surrounding some of your larger synthetic pictures?
GN: The first predella images came from a desire to look at something directly and contain a conceptual idea and a perceptual idea at the same time.
Some of the simplest, and early, references match the case of Sassetta's predella of Ranieri.
They indeed involved novel themes, and so might well involve instructions, even though they may perhaps have been the exception as in the case of Pietro Lorenzetti's predella panel.
But her photos turn this internal self-critical energy into proclamations of sudden a ccess to the hidden depths of subjectivity, as we see in the panoramic predellas of the "Soliloquy" series and their staging of inner thoughts, fantasies, and dreams.
And he provides ample new food for thought (I did not know, for example, of the two oblong predellas that Rothko at one point considered placing under some of his Harvard murals).