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Altar Piece

A picture of some sacred subject painted on the wall or suspended in a frame behind the altar, or a group of statuary on the altar. In the Middle Ages, instead of a picture or group, the altar-piece consisted in some churches of embossed silver or gold and enameled work set with jewels. Sometimes the piece was set on the altar itself. If the altar stood free in the choir, and the altar- piece was to be seen from behind as well as from before, both sides were covered with painting (Norton, Church Building in the Middle Ages). The decorated screen, retable or reredos is also called an altarpiece. (See ALTAR-SCREEN)

A.J. SCHULTE Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by New Advent, Inc., P.O. Box 281096, Denver, Colorado, USA, 80228. (knight@knight.org)

Taken from the New Advent Web Page (www.newadvent.org).

This article is part of the Catholic Encyclopedia Project, an effort aimed at placing the entire Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition on the World Wide Web. The coordinator is Kevin Knight, editor of the New Advent Catholic Website. If you would like to contribute to this worthwhile project, you can contact him by e- mail at (knight@knight.org).


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You are here: Art & Architecture > Architecture Features > Altar Piece  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com