Three. The Triptych in Modern Art
Work by Francis Bacon

Three. The Triptych in Modern Art

The triptych as an altarpiece or devotional image played a pivotal role in Western art since the Middle Ages. This religiously motivated artistic tradition came to a halt with Rubens and was first readopted at the close of the 19th century, producing radically new images and focusing on novel, drastic subject matter.

Taking up the Christian motif of suffering, many significant artists in modern times make existential statements on humanity. Otto Dix, Max Beckmann or Markus Lüpertz conceive modern myths and express political viewpoints. Others, such as Jannis Kounellis, Dieter Roth or Ellsworth Kelly, ennoble materials, color and form by means of the triptych. The exhibition “Three. The Triptych in Modern Art” exemplarily showed the transformation of this type of image, its impact and current relevance, and investigated also the demarcation between it and the image series or sequence.

Curator Marion Ackermann

Bjørn Melhus, Deadly Storms, 2008; Markus Lüpertz, Schwarz-Rot-Gold I-II-III / Black-Red-Gold I-II-III, 1974; Francis Bacon, Three Studies of the Male Back, 1970