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Custom Framing through History

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Along with the style changes among art, the frames that encase the pieces have evolved in numerous ways as well. Dating as far back as the 2nd century Egyptian tombs, custom framing has been a method used to separate scenes among the illustrations. Today we might commonly think of frames made of wood, aluminum, plastic and other materials to hold pictures, but in previous times they were meant to surround art on organic surfaces like pottery.


The styles used for custom framing did not only show creative decor, but also showed social status in society during certain eras. During the Renaissance period of history frames where used to establish propaganda, high social status, power and wealth by monarchs. Around the same time an influential frame known as The Renaissance Cassetta was very common to hold a picture. The Cassetta had a lavish gold furnish that was applied to the wooden box shaped structure. The design carved into the frame was commonly a geometric pattern with the combination of linear outlining. With these qualities, a picture's emotion may be dramatically enhanced.


Some art, including mediocre, that did not always look as good to sell as the others could be held by what is called The Cabinetmaker's Frame. Starting in Holland and some Dutch colonies this frame style was used normally to magnify pieces showing emphasis on landscapes of the Netherlands in well-lit interiors. The frame being made of Ebony, which was most popular during this era, and having a gold leaf print as a design gave any piece of work a certain enriched eloquence. Custom framing in this form spread wildly throughout much of Europe and the Netherlands during the 17th century.


In addition to the Cabinetmaker's frame during the 17th century, custom framing began to show more innovative techniques such as gilding, which involved the curling of shells and leaves.  The art mounts that used this pattern where called Baroque and Rococo frames. Baroque framing was used more by modern artists in this time to highlight their paintings and give off a certain dramatic emotion that complimented the subject at hand.


Rococo, unlike Baroque took a more eloquent approach in its style of production. This method projected a sophisticated status by using detailed designs along with multiple shades of gold. After recognition as a high value frame, European countries began to create their own style of Rococo frames. The diversity of art across Europe eventually led to the frame adopting more curved edges than pointed. This method can still be seen in society today, especially throughout the art community.


As art progresses in time, many more innovative custom framing techniques will emerge. There are no limitations to the dramatic emotion that a frame may help a picture produce. By simply changing the frame material, color, design, or structure as a whole, they can cause even the illustration itself to evolve in time. The expansion of style will allow not only painters but also craftsmen to be able to express their ingenious means of imagination.

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