History of Picture Frames

Picture frames - History of Picture Frames

Italian Renaissance frame, The Annunciation Lucca c1500

One of the earliest frame was a discovery made in an Egyptian tomb dating back to 2nd century A.D. in which a fayum mummy portrait was discovered at Hawara still within its wooden frame. This finding suggests the mummy portraits may have been hung in the owners' homes prior to inclusion within the funerary equipment.[8] The portrait and its frame were most likely preserved by the desert climate, according to frame historian and installation expert Marilyn Murdoch explained in a historical talk to museum docents.

Although framing borders in ancient art were used to divide scenes and ornamentation by ancient Egyptian and Greek artists in pottery and wallpaintings, the first carved wooden frames as we know them today appeared on small panel paintings in twelfth and thirteenth century Europe. According to a historical series published in Picture Frame Magazine, these early "framed panel paintings were made from one piece. The area to be painted was carved out, leaving a raised framing border around the outside edge, like a tray. The whole piece was then gessoed and gilded. Painting the image on the flat panel was the last thing to be done."[9]
Large French frames in the Louvre, Paris, France, c 17th century

When it was realized this method of producing a frame and the image within in one slab of wood was too costly, "a more efficient method was eventually developed which used mitred moulding strips. These strips were attached to a flat wooden panel which produced a similar result to the carved panel, but were more cost effective. This type of frame is known as an engaged frame. The early ones were made of simple wooden moulding strips attached to the outside edge of a wooden panel."[10]

Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, most European frames were church-commissioned and largely unmovable as they were altarpieces and a large part of the church's architecture. The frames were ornamented with architectural elements mimicking the exteriors of the great cathedrals. However, the Renaissance of 14th and 15th century Italy saw the rise of arts patrons extending beyond the church. Wealthy nobles such as the Medici family could now bring art and frames into their estate by commissioning allegorical, devotional and portrait paintings.[11] This was the advent of the portable or moveable frame.

Under the reign of Francis I, France's first Renaissance monarch from 1515 through 1547, art came to the forefront of daily life and flourished along with picture frames. Many workers came from Italy to partake in the arts trade, including Leonardo da Vinci, whom "Francis convinced to leave Italy in the last part of his life."[12] Frames were now designed by furniture builders rather than the artist, sculptor or architect as in the past. Books on furniture and interior design were published and in distribution to a wider market than ever before.

From 1610 to 1643, under the reign of Louis XIII in France, the influence of court and refinement took center stage in frame designs. The profiles became thinner than their Italian predecessors, and continuous design such as egg-and-dart, ribbon and flow of leaves, and pronounced low relief corner designs appeared. This paved the way for Baroque design in picture framing, and "Spanish, Flemish, and Italian influences were all at work to produce a curious intermingling and exchange of ideas."[13]

Pictures frames as art were highly developed in Ortodox countries (e.g., Russia, Serbia) and used to cover icons in churches.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

1,"Weird Bird in Love >> Blog Archive >> Upcycling Picture Frames". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
2, Daniel C. Boyer's acrylic on canvas The Prime Ministers of the Acerbic at the Samurais´ Picnic is wood-framed and decorated in pencil and "Dad Bay, or, The George
Strait" has a frame similarly decorated with coloured pencil.
3 "Patent application for trimmer to remove excess backing paper". Retrieved 2009-12-07.
4 "Black Tyvek sold as backing paper". Retrieved 2009-12-07.
5 "Daniel Smith: Lineco Frame Backing Paper". Retrieved 2010-06-15.
6 "Soccer Ball (Football) Shaped Frame for sale on Amazon.com". Retrieved 2010-06-25.
7 "Weird cool images". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
8 Mummy Portrait found within a wooden frame, Egyptology Online
9 Picture Framing Magazine, "A Survey of Frame History, part 1" by Diane Day, August 1998, p.82
10 Picture Framing Magazine, "A Survey of Frame History, part 1" by Diane Day, August 1998, p.82, 84
11 Picture Framing Magazine "Frames of Reference" by Tracy Gill, May 2000, p.85
12 Francis I of France Francis I]
13 Louis VIII style
14 "Picture Frame" (SHTML). Crafty Ideas. KinderArt. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
15 "Block Mounting". Retrieved November 30, 2011.

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