Definition of retable in English:


Line breaks: re|table
Pronunciation: /rɪˈteɪb(ə)l
(also retablo /rɪˈtɑːbləʊ/)

noun (plural retables or retablos)

  • 1A frame or shelf enclosing decorated panels or revered objects above and behind an altar.
    More example sentences
    • Through the screen's open central doorway a carved retable can be seen, but the altar itself is obscured by two angels who occupy the space, singing from a book.
    • The Keldermans family regularly planned or produced works of microarchitecture - choir screens, retables, tabernacles, and mantelpieces - and several of their designs were stipulated as prototypes for other buildings.
    • This relationship to Netherlandish wooden retables provides several clues both to the meaning of the gates and their method of production.
  • 1.1A painting or other image above and behind an altar: the retable of St Vincent
    More example sentences
    • In her paintings, she emphasized her Indian heritage, borrowing from ancient Mexican and popular art forms, such as retablos, or votive paintings.
    • Some non-funerary monumental medieval and early-renaissance retablos also seem to have incorporated images of the Vir Dolorum as a centrepiece, even when such works bore dedications to the Virgin.
    • The most important form of folk painting is the retablo, which depicts a miraculous event.


early 19th century: from French rétable, from Spanish retablo, from medieval Latin retrotabulum 'rear table', from Latin retro 'backwards' + tabula 'table'.

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