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Carrying On A Tradition

Written by Avant Print & Frame

August 28, 2021

A frame transforms a photo or picture into art. But a frame designed to accentuate the piece transforms it into fine art or a family heirloom. The iconic artist Van Gogh said, “A picture without a frame is like a soul without a body”

This is the specialty of Avant whose specialists do more than frame your photos, pictures, prints or paintings. But Avant is also carrying on an historic tradition. 

Did you know that the earliest example of framed art dates to about 50 AD?  Archaeologist discovered the well-preserved portrait and detailed wooden frame in an Egyptian tomb.

But this artwork was different from the traditional painting and frame. The painting was created a wood panel, and then the framing was carved into the same piece of wood to draw the focus toward the picture. It was then placed on the mummy within the sarcophagus.  

The modern concept of framing is rooted in the development of religious traditions. This was the primary focus of Oleg Tarasov’s book, Framing Russian Art: From Early Icons to Malevich

By the of dawning of Renaissance era in Italy, a churches altar frames that drew the eye to the paintings of saints or scenes from the Bible had become elaborate works of art in themselves. Often the frames were trimmed with gold or precious stones, and mosaic inlay frames extended the scope of the artwork. 

Recently art historians have given greater attention to the role of the frame in classic paintings. Often the artist devoted almost as much time to select or create a frame as they did on the painting itself. 

Tarasov’s book chronicles the evolution of framing in Russia from the medieval period through the time of Czar Nicholas II. From the simple to the ornate framing of religious icons to massive frames used to accentuate mural sized paintings in ceremonial halls and coronation rooms he details the increasing importance of frames. 

Art auction houses are also giving greater attention to frames. If a work lacks a frame from the current period, or if the work is unframed, specialists will seek prospering framing in international markets. This can increase the value of a work by hundreds of a percent. 

A recent article from Art World News highlights the importance of proper framing. “Clore Curator of Renaissance Painting at the National Gallery from 1990 until 2000, Penny spent two years personally making a detailed study and inventory of every frame in the collection. This has become the basis for a personal global archive of frames. He also embarked on an investigation into how the National Gallery’s 19th-century directors had set about the business of framing, much, he says, to the puzzlement of many colleagues: ‘It was respectable to be interested in Victorian furniture 30 years before it was respectable to be interested in Victorian frames.”

You may not have a work by Rembrandt or Raphael. But you photos, print or painting can be transformed with a proper frame.

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