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What Are Triptych Art Prints?

a triptych poster print on white brick wall

Using Multi-Panel Art For Eye Catching Wall Décor

You may of heard the saying: "Two's company, three's a crowd".

But when it comes to multi-panel art prints, more can be better.

The use of triptych wall art is a different & dynamic way of displaying an image.

It’s a method that’s been around a long time, but with modern print technologies you can enjoy this wonderfully creative way of hanging wall art in your own home.

What is a triptych art print? It’s simply an image, or series of images, that are presented on 3 separate panels. Any image or set of images can be used to create a triptych wall art piece, but generally they follow a theme.

The individual panels can be of different sizes & even hung at different heights, so long as the image lines up.

Here's another article showing 7 ways to incorporate triptychs into your décor.


Triptych Art Through The Ages

a historical triptych artwork

Spreading an image or painting over three panels isn’t anything new, triptych art has been with us for a long time.

Triptych art has it’s beginnings in Christianity from around 400 AD through to the middle ages where it was used for alter paintings.

But wooden carvings were also created as triptychs, popular with German Gothic art.

This way of creating art has travelled through history & is probably even more popular today, with it becoming a widely used medium in interior décor.

Nowadays we have more mediums with which to create, like photography & digital art, as well as the technologies to print them on all sorts of materials.

What Pictures Work Best For Triptych Art Prints?

Various styles of art will work whether it’s a print or a photograph & there's many different styles on the market to choose from.

Many print shops even offer the opportunity for you to upload your own image & have it printed as a triptych wall art piece.


Check out some FREE triptych downloadable wall art.

triptych printable wall art

6 Styles Of Images That Create Great Triptychs

Certain images & compositions will work better than others when creating a triptych.

Here's 6 examples of style & compositions that work great for creating triptych art.

1. Panoramic Images

a landscape triptych photograph

Panoramic images are well suited for this style of wall art, especially landscapes.

Sometimes an image can have a number of different focal points, let’s say in the centre of a picture is a jetty diminishing into the horizon.

There may also be a tree to one side & an interesting rock formation on the other.

As well as being a lovely panoramic, it’s also a great candidate for a triptych.

2. Keep It Simple

a triptych beach image

Simple subjects can take on a new dimension when printed over 3 panels.

A seascape for instance may just be of the ocean & sky, pretty straightforward shot, no clever composition, just a nice print to have on your wall.

But when it’s spread over 3 panels, it takes on a new life.

3. Symmetrical Images

a symmetrical triptych print

Symmetrical images printed as triptychs will reinforce the symmetry of the picture.

The left & right sides of a picture converging onto a central subject or focal point will look fantastic as a 3 panelled print.

4. A Centred Subject

triptych tree art

A centred subject is an ideal contender.

A beautiful tree on one panel with the simplicity of the panels either side.

Like the seascape example, the outward panels can just be of grass & sky.

5. Flowing Elements

triptych art above couch

Elements that flow from one panel to the next adds a sense of continuity & graphic appeal.

Often these types of triptych wall art are abstract pieces, but images & photographs like a rainbow or a fence-line or some other landscape with patterns running through it will also work amazingly well.

6. Vertical Elements

vertical triptych image

Instead of flowing from one panel to the next, vertical elements are almost like three individual pictures of the same subject.

This is because the breaks in the image aren’t as obvious.

Images To Avoid

Some images won’t work well at all, while others will need to have the composition in mind before creating it as a triptych print.

1. Cluttered Or Busy

Images where there’s a more complex mix of elements don’t work as triptych prints.

This is because objects in the image often fall on the lines where the panels are cut.

Even if you can avoid these elements, there’s just too much going on in the 3 individual panels, and instead of telling a coherent story, it’s like watching 3 different television programs at once!

2. Portraits

Don't totally avoid portraits, as they can work extremely well, but it depends on the composition of the shot.

A group portrait can be effective provided the individuals are sitting comfortably within a panel.

In a way it’s almost like having individual portraits side by side.

a portrait photo as a triptych print

As the photograph above shows, the subjects need to be the right distance apart for a triptych to work.

If they were huddled together, you'd be slicing through their faces to get them to fit into individual panels.

If it’s a single portrait, again the main subject needs to be in one of the panels.

What can work really well though is the subject is photographed in an environment that reflects their personality or interests.

For instance, your Dad loves his classic car or your sister loves horse riding.

The car & the horse can work across the other 2 panels.

a triptych print hung above chairs

In the triptych above, the horse rider is in the left panel whilst the remaining panels show the sparse landscape.

Certain images may look off balance, but for this photograph I feel it's really effective at communicating the wide open spaces the rider is obviously enjoying.

Although it would still be a great shot, I don't think it would of worked as well if the rider were in the central panel.

baby photo triptych

Alternatively, the one subject can be photographed with three different facial expressions, we’re probably all familiar with the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkey!

triptych portrait in kitchen

Which Print Mediums Are Used For Triptych Wall Art?

Nowadays there's a lot of choice as to what medium you'd like to print your image on.

There's also ready to hang art prints available on various mediums.

This is also true if you’re looking at getting a 3 panelled artwork.

When thinking about triptych wall art, usually canvas prints come to mind. But any print medium can be used to create a triptych.

1. Canvas Prints

Widely used for wall art, there's a huge amount of triptych canvas art to explore.

It’s also a very affordable option if you’re printing your own images.

2. Photographic Paper Prints

Just having photographic prints made gives you the flexibility to mount & frame them how you wish & even swap out frames when you need a change.

3. Acrylic Prints

These styles of print offer amazing quality & are also available as triptych wall art.

4. Metal Prints

Highly durable & like acrylic, offer the most wow factor due to their high image quality & colour saturation.

Displaying a triptych image on aluminium can simply be jaw dropping, especially the larger prints.

5. Wood Prints

Printing on wood is becoming more widely available & again, this material is available as a triptych print.

There’s various woods used by different printers from bamboo to Japanese maple.

Diptychs, Polyptychs, Quadriptychs, Pentaptych - What?

a quadriptych print of a beach scene

Prints made with 3 panels can look fabulous & be really effective for creating eye catching wall décor.

But art prints are actually available in as many panels as you like.

Three is widely used because it’s a main composition principal.

Not just in art, but in other forms of displaying visual elements.

Gardeners will often group plantings in threes for example.

The human brain is geared toward pattern recognition & three is the smallest number of elements needed to create a pattern.

But that’s not to say that wall art that is using a different number of panels doesn’t work or won’t look as good.

Being a photographer I understand the rules of composition, but rules are meant to be broken!

I’m not even sure they should be called “rules”, perhaps “guidelines” is a better description.

Some of the most striking & impactful images deliberately go against the rules.

If you’re having a having a print made as a multi-panel wall art, you can request how many panels you’d like.

But most wall art stores sell either two panels, these are called diptychs ( not to be confused with dipsticks! ) triptychs, as well as four panels called quadriptychs & five panels called pentaptychs.

Polyptychs are simply 4 or more panels, which Wikipedia does a better job of explaining than I can.

But as a general guideline, odd number of groupings do seem to be more pleasing than even numbers.

Here’s a great article from Apartment Therapy on why the rule (or guideline! ) of threes works with home décor.


Do You Have A Fireplace?


Final Thoughts

Triptych wall art is a really interesting & versatile way to either present an image or shop for a piece of art for your home.

I feel it can be used in a novel way without becoming tacky or cheap, creating a conversation starter & a real interesting focal point.

But triptych art can also be very slick & classy with the use of modern or abstract designs.

This is why triptychs are popular in hotels & commercial spaces.

Have you any triptychs at your place? Have you had one of your images printed as a triptych?

I hope you found this article helpful as well as inspiring some creativity for your images & wall décor.

As always, there's no cost involved in sharing this this article!


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