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A diptych (di meaning “two" and ptyche meaning "fold" in Greek) is any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge. Diptychs are usually 2D works composed of 2 pieces. They are completed in a variety of media including painting, photography and drawing, and also represent all types of subject matter including, portraits, landscapes and abstract art.

Diptychs have been a popular art form amongst artists for centuries. Generally there is a link between the panels, where subjects often engage with or look at each other from the two sections. Alternatively, it could depict a single work that is continued across the two parts. This means the diptych could provide two alternative viewpoints of a single scene, or share the same colour and composition but show two different themes. In art history, the diptych was used to present certain scenarios. These were often scenes of marriage (husband and wife on different panels), life and death or wealth and poverty.

In modern and contemporary art, some works are imagined and arranged in two. Artists also create “trompes l’oeil” (literally means “deceive the eye”) which are optical illusions that imitate diptychs by splitting the painting in two. This can be as simple as applying a straight line through the centre of the work. In Late Antiquity, "consular diptychs" were made to mark an individual's election as Roman consul. These were created in wood, ivory or metal.

The diptych was additionally used in early Christian literature to tell stories of saints, Christ and the Virgin Mary. The form facilitated the transportation of these stories, since it could be closed like a book to preserve its interior.

Diptychs were additionally present in classical and modern art (of the 20th century). However, very few old pieces of this art form survived, and those that did are kept in the most renowned museums worldwide.

In 1935, King Richard II commissioned the Wilton Diptych, a small portable diptych and extremely rare Medieval religious painting from England. It is now in the National Gallery in London.  Measuring 53 x 37 cm, the Baltic oak panels depict a kneeling Richard II on one panel, praying to the Virgin Mary on the other.

The Louvre has the Diptych of Jean Carondelet in its possession, which was created by Jean Gossaert in 1517. The diptych is a work of private devotion, yet underlines the Flemish painter’s talent for portraiture. Jean Carondelet is shown praying towards the right panel where an image of the Virgin Mary is also painted. However, unlike the Wilton Diptych, this is actually a double diptych as the back of the piece is painted with a coat of arms and a skull (vanitas).

Alternatively, one of the most famous diptychs only dates back to 1962, and was completed by Pop art master, Andy Warhol.  His famous “Marilyn Diptych” shows two serigraphs: one in colour and one in black and white. According to the Tate, this “evokes [Marilyn Monroe’s] ubiquitous presence in the media. The contrast of vivid colour with black and white, and the effect of fading in the right panel are suggestive of the star’s mortality.”

Discover the art of diptychs on Artsper, with a selection of works which include: photographs by Catherine Rebois and Solène Ballesta, and paintings by Jazzu and Janise Yntema .

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Jiao Jia Ou Yang, Fleurs bleues I, Painting

Jiao Jia Ou Yang

Fleurs bleues I, 2012
31.5 x 63 inch

$6,920 $9,105

Philippine Boulay, Sea of Parrots, Painting

Philippine Boulay

Sea of Parrots, 2015
40.2 x 59.8 inch


Vicente Cascales, Desde Rockefeller Center, Painting

Vicente Cascales

Desde Rockefeller Center, 2015
39.4 x 70.9 x 2 inch


Nathalie Guével, Forêt musicale, Painting

Nathalie Guével

Forêt musicale, 2016
63 x 55.1 x 1 inch


Silvia Papas, Spring time, Painting

Silvia Papas

Spring time, 2016
47.2 x 23.6 x 2 inch


Jean-Luc Georges, Tôle orange, Painting

Jean-Luc Georges

Tôle orange, 2015
57.5 x 38.2 x 2 inch


Kim Bennani, Sans titre, Painting

Kim Bennani

Sans titre, 2016
94.5 x 108.7 x 1.6 inch


Pierre Klossowski, La chiromancienne, Print

Pierre Klossowski

La chiromancienne, 1986
39.4 x 59.8 inch


Barbara Todd, Beside Herself, Sculpture

Barbara Todd

Beside Herself, 2012
47.4 x 133.5 x 0.8 inch


Eloy Arribas, La piscina, Painting

Eloy Arribas

La piscina, 2016
57.9 x 98.4 x 1.2 inch


Em'Ji, Du-Eau-Dit-Vin (diptyque), Print


Du-Eau-Dit-Vin (diptyque), 2014
39.4 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch


Louis Lambert (3ttman), Only Locals, Painting

Louis Lambert (3ttman)

Only Locals, 2017
51.2 x 74.8 inch


Otom, Voyage nocturne 1 et 2, Painting


Voyage nocturne 1 et 2, 2017
149.6 x 94.5 x 0.8 inch


Jacqueline  Roberts, The Siblings  , Photography

Jacqueline Roberts

The Siblings , 2012
17.7 x 25.6 inch


Patrick Baillet, Salue pleureur, Painting

Patrick Baillet

Salue pleureur, 2015
63 x 47.2 x 1.2 inch


José Portilla, Latidos de vida de la tierra, Painting

José Portilla

Latidos de vida de la tierra, 2015
48 x 48 x 2 inch


Jim Céladon, La conquête, Painting

Jim Céladon

La conquête, 2015
76.8 x 102.4 x 1.2 inch


Shirana Shahbazi, [Carl-01-2002] & [Carl-01-2002], From the Series Der Garten, Photography

Shirana Shahbazi

[Carl-01-2002] & [Carl-01-2002], From the Series Der Garten, 2002
48.4 x 81.1 x 2.8 inch


Stéphane Rosa, Mykonos Diptyque, Painting

Stéphane Rosa

Mykonos Diptyque, 2016
47.2 x 118.1 x 1.6 inch


Our recommendations Shepard Fairey (Obey), Pattern of corruption Black & Gold, Print

Shepard Fairey (Obey)

Pattern of corruption Black & Gold, 2015
24 x 18.1 inch


Philippe Huart, Saturation, Painting

Philippe Huart

Saturation, 2013
47.2 x 47.2 x 1.6 inch


Our recommendations Gelitin, Hase, Photography


Hase, 2014
9.4 x 31.5 x 2 inch


Jiao Jia Ou Yang, Paysage neigeux I, Painting

Jiao Jia Ou Yang

Paysage neigeux I, 2007
39.4 x 78.7 inch


Jiao Jia Ou Yang, Yellow country, Painting

Jiao Jia Ou Yang

Yellow country, 2006
39.4 x 78.7 inch


Maria Esmar, Allure, Painting

Maria Esmar

Allure, 2018
47.2 x 78.7 x 1.6 inch


MG aka Michel Gagnol, Moments d'amour injustifiés, Painting

MG aka Michel Gagnol

Moments d'amour injustifiés, 2017
27.6 x 39.4 x 1.6 inch


Shahram Nabati, Composition 8, Painting

Shahram Nabati

Composition 8, 2015
39.4 x 55.1 x 0.8 inch


Peter Hermans, Vulnerable, Painting

Peter Hermans

Vulnerable, 2007
47.2 x 31.5 x 1.6 inch


Fiona Weedon, Falling Light, Painting

Fiona Weedon

Falling Light, 2014
28.7 x 73.2 x 0.8 inch


Solène Ballesta, Evanidis III, Photography

Solène Ballesta

Evanidis III, 2014
27.6 x 23.6 inch


Solène Ballesta, Evanidis V, Photography

Solène Ballesta

Evanidis V, 2014
27.6 x 23.6 inch


Solène Ballesta, Evanidis XVI, Photography

Solène Ballesta

Evanidis XVI, 2014
27.6 x 23.6 inch


Âme Sauvage, Ciel de nuit, Painting

Âme Sauvage

Ciel de nuit, 2019
13 x 18.9 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Jean-Pierre Petit, Etre monde (diptyque), Painting

Jean-Pierre Petit

Etre monde (diptyque), 2018
23.6 x 47.2 x 0.8 inch


Christèle Lefay, Variations 2 (Diptyque), Painting

Christèle Lefay

Variations 2 (Diptyque), 2017
25.6 x 43.3 x 1.2 inch


Philippine Boulay, I Love You, Painting

Philippine Boulay

I Love You, 2015
31.5 x 63 x 1.2 inch


Alice Ricard, Maroola, Print

Alice Ricard

Maroola, 2016
25.6 x 39.4 inch


ElleK, Ma muse 1 & 2 (diptyque), Painting


Ma muse 1 & 2 (diptyque), 2015
47.2 x 23.6 x 1.5 inch


Gabriele Fettolini, Binomio 1, Painting

Gabriele Fettolini

Binomio 1, 2017
37.8 x 26.4 inch


Janise Yntema, Turning The Wheel, Painting

Janise Yntema

Turning The Wheel, 2017
48 x 76.4 inch


Debra Ramsay, Greens, Painting

Debra Ramsay

Greens, 2018
9 x 18 x 0.25 inch


Claude Picart, Bord de l'eau, Painting

Claude Picart

Bord de l'eau, 2014
39.4 x 63.8 x 1.2 inch


Claude Picart, LN, Painting

Claude Picart

LN, 2014
63.8 x 51.2 x 1.2 inch


Claude Picart, Y a bon, Painting

Claude Picart

Y a bon, 2014
59.1 x 59.1 x 1.2 inch


Vicente Cascales, Venecia desde San Marcos, Painting

Vicente Cascales

Venecia desde San Marcos, 2016
19.7 x 63 x 2 inch


Janise Yntema, Le pré de la nuit, Painting

Janise Yntema

Le pré de la nuit, 2015
33.1 x 48 x 1.6 inch


Janise Yntema, The Whisper Of Solitude, Painting

Janise Yntema

The Whisper Of Solitude, 2015
39.4 x 57.1 inch


Jean-Freddy, De l'un à l'autre 1&2 (diptyque), Painting


De l'un à l'autre 1&2 (diptyque), 2015
31.9 x 47.2 x 1.2 inch


Dan Barichasse, Poussière d'ombres, diptyque, Painting

Dan Barichasse

Poussière d'ombres, diptyque, 2005
43.3 x 63 x 3.5 inch


Hunter & Gatti, Muse Series #1 and #2 Diptych, Photography

Hunter & Gatti

Muse Series #1 and #2 Diptych, 2016
13 x 38 x 1 inch


Luc Lapraye, TheSquareMeter , Painting

Luc Lapraye

TheSquareMeter , 2015
59.1 x 118.1 inch


Alexandru Radvan, Diptychon, Painting

Alexandru Radvan

Diptychon, 2014
39.4 x 55.1 x 2 inch


Hassen Meghraoui, Mariage, Painting

Hassen Meghraoui

Mariage, 2011
31.5 x 78.7 x 0.8 inch


Nora Boudjemaï, Sans titre, Painting

Nora Boudjemaï

Sans titre, 2018
16.5 x 25.6 inch


Elia Kleiber, Les Athlètes - Situation N° 2, Painting

Elia Kleiber

Les Athlètes - Situation N° 2, 2014
63.8 x 59.8 x 2 inch


Imre Drégely, Dog image, Photography

Imre Drégely

Dog image, 2007
39.4 x 78.7 x 1.6 inch


Patrick Baillet, Arbre, Painting

Patrick Baillet

Arbre, 2015
47.2 x 63 x 1.2 inch


Catherine Rebois, Le loup, Photography

Catherine Rebois

Le loup, 2010
35.4 x 47.2 inch


Jazzu, Méditation mentale, Painting


Méditation mentale, 2017
44.9 x 63.8 x 1.6 inch

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Jazzu, Redemption, Painting


Redemption, 2017
51.2 x 70.9 x 1.2 inch

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60 Artworks on 62

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