julianna kunstler logo




by JuliannaKunstler.com

what is triptych?

A triptych is a series of three paintings or carved panels intended to be displayed together.

Originated in Ancient Rome, triptychs became a popular form of altar pieces for Early Christian churches

Triptych, Mosan, Belgium, c. 1156–58.
The Morgan Library & MuseumNew York City

Triptych icon of the Feodorovskaya Mother of God

Traditionally two of the panels were attached to the central one by hinges and folded over it, to show two different paintings on the back.

In modern art, you can use any media to create a triptych, including painting, drawing, relief carving, collages, photography, graphic design, etc.

© User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons
A triptych of the seed heads of a Great Willowherb

digital art

Credit: Staermose Posters 

Shapes and dimensions can vary, but there has to be an order or logic to why you are using these dimensions. Usually, you have all 3 images have the same height. Width can be the same for all 3 pieces, or at least the side panels are the same width. Remember, the 3 pieces will be displayed together - they should look like they belong together.

Here are some examples:

triptych layouts

Unity (principle of Design) should be applied to triptych. That means that all panels have to share some properties: color scheme, repeated elements or variations of elements, common theme, background or anything that will make these three panels look like they belong together:





Here is your assignment:

Create a triptych of images that depict various emotions. You can depict 3 different emotions or 3 variations of one emotion.

Pick from the list or think of your own:

  • Acceptance
  • Affection
  • Aggression
  • Ambivalence
  • Apathy
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Compassion
  • Confusion
  • Contempt
  • Depression
  • Doubt
  • Empathy
  • Envy
  • Embarrassment
  • Euphoria
  • Forgiveness
  • Frustration
  • Gratitude
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Hatred
  • Hope
  • Horror
  • Hostility
  • Homesickness
  • Hunger
  • Hysteria
  • Interest
  • Loneliness
  • Love
  • Paranoia
  • Pity
  • Pleasure
  • Pride
  • Rage
  • Regret
  • Remorse
  • Shame
  • Suffering
  • Sympathy


All images have to meet the following criteria:

  • Unity of all images, use of rRepetition and rythm
  • Apropriate dimensions
  • Each emotion is evident in the artwork
  • All images are extensively edited in Photoshop. Filters and/or blending modes are used. Files have multiple layers - do not flaten the images!
  • Creativity
  • Craftsmanship - that means "quality of selections" in Photoshop!
  • Overall flow in the design. Try to "tell a story" or convey some message with your artwork!
psychotic happiness fear anger
sorrow love joy
happiness anger fear
joy sorrow hope

Here are some examples of Emotions artwork from a wonderful site www.worth1000.com: