al·​tar·​piece ˈȯl-tər-ˌpēs How to pronounce altarpiece (audio)
: a work of art that decorates the space above and behind an altar

Examples of altarpiece in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Wealthy clients often commissioned artists to paint them into biblical scenes, whether in altarpieces, psalters or other types of works. V.m. Braganza, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Aug. 2023 The current Catholic-core is more explicit in its appropriation of devotional signifiers, complete with palm rosaries and vintage altarpieces. Sofia Andrade, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2023 Here, a golden Bastet amulet from the eighth century BCE in Egypt is toothpick-height and nearly as slim; nearby, a matchbox-size silver pendant from 1504 unfolds in three parts, a dizzyingly wee take on an altarpiece depicting the martyrdom of Santa Barbara, Mary Magdalen, and Saint Gereon. Globe Staff,, 10 Aug. 2023 This exquisite Gothic polyptych – an altarpiece with pivoting panels – was carved in the late 1400s by Veit Stoss. Rick Steves, Chicago Tribune, 30 May 2023 Jess celebrates the high-minded hedonism of the mid-twentieth-century San Francisco Bay Area avant-garde with a canvas that rivals the enameled richness of a medieval altarpiece. Jed Perl, The New York Review of Books, 26 Mar. 2020 Most recently, the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent began restoring the altarpiece in October 2012, allowing the public to view the process from behind a glass screen as conservators from the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage worked on individual panels. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 29 July 2020 That description may sound funny, but the image is not: Davis is dolled-up but defiant, an altarpiece heroine in azure space. Johanna Fateman, The New Yorker, 10 Mar. 2023 The sculptures are believed to have been part of a cycle of apostles from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Saint-Omer in northern France, and were most likely part of an altarpiece with the crucified Christ in the center, the museum said. Steven Litt, cleveland, 27 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'altarpiece.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1624, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of altarpiece was in 1624

Dictionary Entries Near altarpiece

Cite this Entry

“Altarpiece.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

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