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  • Writer's pictureRossella BLUE Mocerino

A Modern Interpretation of the Triptych as understood by Rossella BLUE Mocerino

A triptych is an early form of Christian Art, dating back to the Middle Ages but thanks to artists like Francis Bacon, it still speaks to modern, perhaps non-religious, artists. Francis Bacon has kept the idea of dividing a painting into three panels but his triptychs are so large that it seems even the triptych format cannot contain his creative output. Our emotions cannot be contained, the theme cannot be defined within the boundaries of a canvas. Perhaps that is why frames seem to restrict and finalize a painting in a false way. There is no beginning or end to a painting.


Triptyc by Francis Bacon 1986-7
Francis Bacon. Triptych 1986-7

Usually, a triptych divides the subject of one painting into three sections, but I have started to think of the triptych in a new way. What if I take a subject and explore it in three canvases? Each canvas can stand on its own but the three works together express the entirety of the subject as explored by the artist. The three canvases can be tied to each other by theme and by the colors used in the three canvases. This being my work, they are also connected by the masked figures.


3 paintings depicting The Mannequin Tryptic

The Mannequin Triptych by Rossella BLUE Mocerino

Left panel: The Mannequins. Center Panel: The Shopkeeper. Right Panel: Welcome, Signor de Chirico.


I wanted to use nudes in my work. I was reminded of Giorgio de Chirico’s work when I saw some undressed mannequins in a shop window near Piazza San Marco in Venice and as I see it, mannequins are indeed nudes. The goal of this ‘triptych’ is two-fold: to pay homage to De Chirico and to explore the world of mannequins. Once completed, the subject that has caught my fancy is the symbolism of the door - open and inviting; closed and forbidding. Who stands on the other side of the door - friend or enemy? And what do you do when a door after another is unaccessible to you? Do you try everything possible to enter it or do you find another path? Again, I will explore this subject in three canvases before I move on to another subject.


I did one traditional triptych, diptych and a pentaptych in the past and although I will not do them again, the triptych format as I see it still speaks to me. It offers me a self-imposed discipline and a discriminatory process of selection. As I am concluding this post, I think back to Francis Bacon and wonder about the moment he realized that the triptych format spoke to him.

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