Triptych Painting Project for Kids

Week 16: We made triptych paintings.

Medieval artists such as Jan Van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch painted triptychs. A triptych is a three paneled painting which can be closed for transport. They are often seen in medieval churches and were commissioned decorative pieces for the wealthy.

Triptychs were the most popular form, but artists also created diptychs (two paneled paintings) and polyptychs (multi-paneled paintings) such as the one from Schloss Stolzenfels shown above.

Using triptychs, both Van Eyck and Bosch painted many religious scenes. Often portraits of heaven were found on the left panel, Earth in the center panel and hell on the right panel.

Hieronymus Bosch's paintings contained many mythical creatures and they have a cartoon-like feel. The documentary Hieronymus Bosch and the Delights of Hell explains the meaning behind the symbols in his paintings, but is not a video I recommend for young children.

Van Eyck was among the first to use oil paints. Light was an important element in his works and the source always shown from the left. His paintings give a perception of depth and are filled with details such as the back of the newly married couple reflected in the mirror in the Arnolfini Wedding.

Van Eyck from Belgium and Bosch from the Netherlands; it's interesting that both painters were from the same region of Europe.

After learning a little about these two medieval painters, we created our own triptychs.

First heavy sheets of card stock paper were measured, marked in fourths, and the ends were folded into the center to serve as the frame

Second, a form for the frame was sketched onto the folded card stock and cut out to create the decorative edge of the frame.

Third, the card stock sections were traced onto plain paper and cut slightly smaller than the frame to create canvases for the paintings.

Panels of triptychs tend to be related images. Sometimes they contain similar views of the same subject painted at different distances. Other times they are constructed of similar items. After selecting a theme for the triptychs, the designs were sketched in. Here are some theme ideas:

Trees or flowers in different seasons
The same animal in different positions
Fourth of July Images such as a flag, fireworks and a parade
Medieval theme - Castle, knight, and a cathedral

 In painting the designs, the use of contrasting warm and cool colors was discussed.

 My six year old chose a unicorn theme. She drew unicorns in three different positions and in the center and right hand panel used contrasting warm and cool colors for her unicorn and background.

My ten year old selected a seasons theme and painted a tree in each season contrasting background and tree colors.

The kids have really enjoyed our weekly art projects.. To see them please visit our Arts and Crafts Page.

Check out these blog hops for more educational activity ideas.

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