(2,825 words)

1. Concept and significance of the altarpiece

The Modern-Period altarpiece, like its medieval counterpart, is a pictorial representation installed above an altar. Its subject matter refers to the altar’s donor, its patron saint (dedicatory title), or the liturgy celebrated before it. Besides altarpieces of wood or canvas, more rarely copper or stone, wall-mounted pain…

Cite this page
Ramisch, Hans, “Altarpiece”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 24 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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