AskDefine | Define retable

Extensive Definition

A retable is a term of ecclesiastical art and ecclesiastical architecture, applied in modern English usage to an altar-ledge or shelf, raised slightly above the back of the altar or communion table, on which are placed the cross, ceremonial candlesticks and other ornaments. Such retables may be lawfully used in the Church of England.
Foreign usage of the term, as in French, is different, and where the word is kept with this foreign application, the distinction should be observed. The Middle Latin retrotabulunz (modernized retabulum) was applied to an architectural feature set up at the back of an altar, and generally taking the form of a screen framing a picture, carved or sculptured work in wood or stone, or mosaic, or of a movable feature such as the famous Pala d'Oro in St Mark's Basilica, Venice, of gold, jewels and enamels. The foreign retable is, therefore, what should in English be called a reredos, though that is not in modern usage a movable feature.

See also


retable in Czech: Retabulum
retable in Dutch: Retabel

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Communion table, altar, altar carpet, altar desk, altar facing, altar of prothesis, altar rail, altar side, altar slab, altar stair, altar stone, altarpiece, ancona, beam-end, bomos, chancel table, corbel, credence, eschara, frontal, gradin, gradino, hestia, hob, holy table, ledge, mantel, mantelshelf, mensal, missal stand, predella, prothesis, retablo, rood altar, scrobis, shelf, shoulder, superaltar
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