History of Picture Framing

Unveiling the Artistic Evolution: A Journey through the History of Picture Framing

The art of framing has played an integral role in showcasing and preserving visual masterpieces throughout history, of which Dawsons Framing is proud to be a part of.. From ancient civilizations to contemporary times, the evolution of picture framing is a testament to both artistic expression and practical preservation.

Ancient Beginnings:

The origins of picture framing can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where the framing of artworks served both aesthetic and protective purposes. In ancient Egypt, for example, paintings and hieroglyphics adorned the walls of tombs, framed with wooden borders to safeguard against deterioration. Similarly, ancient Greeks and Romans utilized wooden and metal frames to enhance the visual appeal of their frescoes and mosaics.

Middle Ages and Renaissance:

During the Middle Ages, religious art dominated the scene, and elaborate framing became an essential element of altar paintings and religious panels. The use of gold leaf and intricate carvings reflected the importance of religious art during this period.

With the Renaissance came a renewed focus on individual expression and a surge in secular art. Portraits and landscapes gained prominence, and frames evolved to complement the newfound diversity in artistic subjects. Ornate gilded frames became popular, reflecting the opulence and refinement of the Renaissance era.

Two beautifully opulent frame samples designed and made by master framer Graham Reynolds who has studied the history of picture framing and sought to be the foremost creator of gilded frames in all the historical styles.
Two beautifully opulent frame samples designed and made by master framer Graham Reynolds who has studied the history of picture framing and sought to be the foremost creator of gilded frames in all the historical styles.

Baroque and Rococo Extravagance:

The Baroque and Rococo periods witnessed a departure from the restraint of Renaissance framing. Ornamentation reached new heights, with frames adorned with intricate carvings, scrolls, and flourishes. The frame itself became a work of art, mirroring the grandiosity of the Baroque and Rococo movements.

19th Century Changes:

The 19th century saw a shift in framing styles as art moved towards the Romantic and Realist movements. Artists and framers alike embraced simpler, more subdued frames that aimed to complement the artwork without overshadowing it. The Arts and Crafts Movement further emphasized craftsmanship and simplicity in framing design.

The History of Picture Framing
The History of Picture Framing

Modern Era:

In the 20th century, modern and contemporary art challenged traditional framing norms. Some artists began to experiment with frameless presentations, emphasizing the direct connection between the artwork and the viewer. At the same time, minimalist frames and unconventional materials found their way into the framing scene, reflecting the avant-garde spirit of the time.

Just Around the Corner Frame: Dawsons Handcrafted Range: KAWS Fan Art Print
Just Around the Corner Frame: Dawsons Handcrafted Range: KAWS Fan Art Print

Digital Age Challenges:

As we entered the digital age, the concept of framing extended beyond physical boundaries. Digital frames and virtual galleries emerged, allowing for the display of art in a dynamic and ever-changing manner. This technological shift challenged traditional notions of framing, introducing new possibilities for presentation and interaction with visual art.

The History of Picture Framing, Scott Dawson & Graham Reynolds discuss a new classic frame for a client
The History of Picture Framing, Scott Dawson & Graham Reynolds discuss a new classic frame for a client

The Art and Craft Today:

In the 21st century, framing continues to be a dynamic blend of tradition and innovation. While traditional styles endure, contemporary framers explore diverse materials, finishes, and styles to cater to the eclectic tastes of today’s art enthusiasts.

In conclusion, the history of picture framing is a captivating journey through the ages, reflecting the evolving relationship between art and its presentation. From the ornate frames of the Renaissance to the minimalism of the 20th century and the digital framing of today, the art of framing remains an ever-evolving testament to the boundless creativity of human expression. At Dawsons Framing, we are proud to offer a range of styles in picture framing, from the classic opulence of the Renaissance  through to the eclectic contemporary styles available today.

Graham Reynolds Gilding

 

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