Religion Past and Present

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(212 words)

[German Version]

A predella (Ital., “platform”) is the base of an altarpiece or retable (Altar: III, 2; Retable: II; Shrine), usually in the form of an elongated chest. The earliest date from the early 14th century. The term predula is first attested in 1301 in Italy. Since the 15th century, a predella has been a standard element in the design of altarpieces. It can comprise one or more paintings, contain relics, and serve as an open frame-work with carved figures of saints or biblical scenes. As part of the overall iconography of the altarpiece, its transverse rectang…

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Bock, Ulrich, “Predella”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 25 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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