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Glossary of Art Terms: 'T'

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A statue or sculpture of the human body with the head and limbs omitted, removed or broken off.


Art consisting of a painting or carving on three panels, often hinged together. This was commonly constructed for altarpieces during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Today triptychs are often assembled with three canvases meant to be displayed together and serves as an interesting design element. The image is usually either a single scene extended across all three canvases or simply separate related images. See diptych for a related term.

trompe l'oeil

A French term literally meaning "trick the eye" and aims to appear very real. This technique should not be confused with Photo-Realism since it actually predates the photograph. The main idea was to present a two-dimensional image that appeared to be the actual objects sitting within the frame. Most of these works are still-life arrangements and were produced life-size. The art of trompe l'oeil began during the Renaissance and with advances in linear perspective in the fifteenth-century and in the science of optics in the seventeenth-century, artists have further developed the technique.