Like most things artistic, custom art frames go through creative phases, chapters, trends. Since the concept of framing art was first conceived, trends in framing and frames – whether they be metal frames or wood frames – have been prompted by the artistic, social, and economic movements of the times.
The beginning: art and frame, one and the same
The earliest art frames were built right into and part of the artwork. They were from the same piece of wood, a material that predated canvas, as the art itself. They were simple and minimally ornate, if at all. Some artisans used mortise-and-tenon joints, a technique still used today, to connect wood pieces.
The Renaissance of frame bling
More elaborate frames were created during the Renaissance, when Italian masters like da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli were producing some of the greatest works of art ever. Frames of the day were decorated with precious metals, stones, ivory, pearls, or with veneers of tortoiseshell. Walnut was the favored wood because of its rich brown color, and because carving it into frames was easy.
Two from the Renaissance
Here are two frame styles that originated during the Renaissance:
Tabernacle frame: This style of frame is designed to look like a building, with an ornate top and base and with both sides supported by pillars. The tabernacle frame was intended to fit flawlessly within window treatments and door frames in classic Greek and Roman style.