A predella is a mostly wooden flat base that stands on the altar table, the cafeteria , in Christian churches and carries the actual altarpiece, the reredos . Sometimes the box-like predella also had the function of a reliquary .
Predellas are often provided with paintings or carvings that are related in terms of design and theme to the representations of the altarpiece to which they belong. The Passion story shown in the reredos can correspond to the entombment of Christ on the predella below. A common motif is the last supper of Jesus with his twelve apostles because of the wide, low format and the proximity to the altar table . Due to the lower iconographic tasks and requirements in contrast to the pictures on the main panels, there is often more scope for artistic design freedom within the framework of the predella. Some predelles have achieved fame of their own due to their particularly significant design.
- Examples of famous predels
- Duccio di Buoninsegna (1309–1311): Predella of the Maestà of the high altar in the cathedral of Siena
- Lorenzo Monaco (1407–1409): Predella life of St. Benedict of the Altar of San Benedetto in Florence
- Matthias Grünewald (1512–1516): Predella Lamentation of Christ on the Isenheim Altarpiece , in the Unterlinden Museum
- Luca Signorelli (1519–1522): Predella Ester, and the life of St. Jerome of the Arezzo Altarpiece
- Lucas Cranach the Elder (1540–1547): Predella of the Reformation altar in the Wittenberg town church
- Otto Dix (1929–1932): Predella Reclining Soldiers of the triptych Der Krieg , Galerie Neue Meister in Dresden
The painting The Body of Christ in the Grave (1521/1522) by Hans Holbein the Elder, executed in the horizontal format of a predella . As a result of the iconoclasm in Basel, J. was never set up in the planned location (today in the Kunstmuseum Basel ). Dix 'Predella Der Krieg refers to this picture (picture below) ; and Dostoevsky discusses it in his novel The Idiot (1868).