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date: 24 November 2020


The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Gordon Campbell

The term used in ecclesiastical architecture for a picture or a carved screen behind and above an altar; in theological terms, an altarpiece is a decorative adjunct to an altar and not a liturgical object, so the blessing or consecration of an altar by a bishop does not extend to the altarpiece. The usual subject of an altarpiece is the saint to whom the church is dedicated.... ...

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